A Bit of Budget Banter

Following the announcement of the budget this week, Maeve Connolly takes a look at what the contents revealed really mean for us students.

The Irish Budget. Three words that fill Irish citizens with dread faster than the prospect of a crystal swing reunion. Though of the utmost importance during these times of continuing fiscal uncertainty, the budget never seems to do much to boost morale or to give hope for the future of the country.

Before the days of being in college and having to make ‘economically sound decisions’ for myself, the budget never weighed too heavily on my mind. What difference did it make to my life if Capital gains tax was raised? I now, however, understand that the budget directly and indirectly affects us all, and it is our duty as citizens of Ireland to be informed and be up to date on the austerity measures being put on our country.

This being said, I know that most college students have more “important” things to be doing on a Tuesday than waiting with baited breath to hear if there would be a rise in corporation tax, ie. Setting out the battle plan for the night ahead. This is why I have taken it upon myself to synopsise the budget for ye, concentrating on the points most closely related to us struggling poverty stricken students.

Budget 2016: Main points of interest

  • Universal social charge was the first item up for change. This generally despised tax has miraculously been reduced from: 1.05% to 1.0%, from 3.05% to 3.0% and from 7% to 5.5%. This decrease was originally flagged by Enda Kenny back in April. Michael Noonan, our minister for finance appears to have made it his mission to reduce the tax burden on lower and middle income people and this decrease in USC is the first step to doing just that.
  • Capital gains tax which affects all you budding entrepreneurs out there, has been slashed, dropping from 33% to just 20%.
  • A new form of PRSI has been introduced called “tapered PRSI credit”. The apparent aim of this new tax is to eliminate the step effect across all income ranges.
  • The tax relief for start-ups companies has been prolonged another three years. This is a great incentive for new business developments (calling all commerce students!)
  • Though not an immediate worry for any of us thriving youths, the pension levy which was introduced as an austerity measure back when this dreaded business started has thankfully been disbanded. So come January 2016 the 0.15% levy will no longer weigh on any of our minds. Phew!
  • In terms of motor tax, all ive gathered is that the commercial tax rates will be made much less complex. Five range brackets will replace the staggering twenty that were in place previously. (They will range from ninety two euro to nine hundred euro.)
  • Now for the big one. The one you were all reading to find out about! (Don’t lie, we all know you don’t really care about capital gains tax.) Cigarettes and alcohol. A twenty pack of cigarettes will now cost 10.50 as opposed to 10.00. I think we all saw this one coming to be fair. This is the only tax increase in this whole budget which is a miracle in itself. Furthermore, this small little increase is expected to raise 61.4 million euro for the exchequer. I think we can all live with this. Alcohol has not been touched which is proof that there is a God.
  • The next thing that everyone has a genuine interest in is the increase in the minimum wage. Those of us who are unlucky enough to live away from home can vouch for how easily money slips through your fingers. Never mind all the little extras that all college students splurge on (ALCOHOL, food, ALCOHOL, clothes, ALCOHOL etc etc), paying for rent, household necessities, travel costs can really put a strain on the old purse strings. So the fact that minimum wage has increased by 50c is a God send.
  • A 12c charge per ATM transactions is going to replace the five euro annual charge on cards. The new charge will be capped at either 2.50 or 3.00 depending on the card type.
  • Some other points to note: childcare is free for children from the ages of three to five and a half; child benefit will increase from 135 to 140 per month; Fathers will now be offered two weeks paternity leave come January 2016;

Of course there are many more measures to be adopted and if you are interested in reading the full budget then ye can look it up yourselves. I am not your mother.

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