03 Oct 2022

'Fuel, fags and pensions' - What's in and what's out of Budget 2022?


'Fuel, fags and pensions' - What's in and what's out of Budget 2022?

Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe will announce Budget 2022 on Tuesday

Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath will announce Budget 2022 on Tuesday but many of the measures have already been revealed in various leaks and interviews with those in charge.

Let's get straight into it - what's the story on tax?

We know that income tax and VAT will be unchanged in the Budget so no big there will be no big shocks in terms of your payslip.

The tax package being announced on Tuesday is around €500m. While income tax won't increase, the tax bands could change. Currently, workers pay 20% incomes tax up to €35,300 and 40% on any earnings above that. This amount could be changed to account for inflation which is making the cost of living higher. Another option on the table is the entry point for the USC.

It is likely the minimum wage will increase to €10.50 per hour.

What about working from home - what's the plan there?

It is still up to employers on the mechanics of working from home but Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Budget will introduce a number of tax incentives for people working from home.

It's likely workers will be able to claim 30% of their home energy bills back for the days they work from home. The mechanics of such a scheme are likely to be revealed on Budget day.

What is in the Budget on the health front?

The big takeaway on the health front is free GP care being extended to kids up to the age of seven.

The dental scheme aimed at young PAYE workers will also be expanded so they can qualify after two years of PRSI contributions instead of five.

It looks like a €250m fund will be ploughed into tackling the problem of hospital waiting lists that worsened during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Over a million people are now waiting for appointments.

For young people, €10m will be set aside for the rollout of free contraceptives to young adults. Also, period poverty will be addressed with a new scheme to be announced.

What about the old age pension and social welfare?

The current state pension of €248.30 per week will be increased. A €5 increase could become a €10 increase if Cabinet bows to pressure from some in the Dáil. They are asking for the bigger rise due to inflation and the cost of living and fuel increasing all the time.

Other core social welfare rates are also likely to increase, including Job Seeker's Allowance and Benefit. This will be on phased basis but an immediate increase is likely with further hikes over the next number of Budget cycles. Fuel allowance will also certainly increase due to rising fuels costs and another jump in carbon tax in this budget. €5 week could be added to the fuel allowance while the eligibility criteria may also be widened.

Will the booze and fags increase again?

While there will be no increase in the excise for alcohol it is increasingly likely that the cost of a 20 pack of cigarettes will once again increase by €0.50. Other nicotine and tobacco products will also see a rise.

What about families - what in the Budget will affect them?

Childcare has been a big issue with many more people working from home and childcare places at a premium in many areas. Some in government circles are pushing for a specific childcare allowance but that may not feature this time around. An expansion to the National Childcare Scheme is likely but details are scarce.

Child benefit will not change in this budget.

What about the big talking points - fuel and climate change?

The big one here is the increase to carbon tax following a hike last year. This will be increased by €7.50 on Tuesday, leaving carbon at €41 per tonne. This will jump by the same amount in every Budget between now and 2030.

This means the price of home heating fuels like oil, as well as petrol and diesel will increase further. This follows steady increases in motor fuel costs already over the last few months. A full tank of diesel could increase by as much as €1.50 from October 13, with petrol going up by around €1.30 a tank.

Home heating is the big fear, especially in rural areas and in older houses. An increase to the fuel allowance will be announced on Tuesday but may not be enough to quell opposition from homeowners and many TDs in Leinster House. Coal, peat, oil and briquettes will all see price increases.

Let's talk housing

The Budget will introduce new tax breaks aimed at encouraging people possibly living alone or in a bigger house to donsize in order to free up supply for families.

While a plan to extend the Help to Buy scheme to first-time buyers to revamp derelict homes was shot down by Paschal Donohoe, a new levy will be put on zoned and serviced properties not being used by the owners. This could be a 3% value tax on the properties to encourage their development.

Are we still getting a new Bank Holiday?

The short answer here is 'no' - Minister Michael McGrath has said there is now no plan for pandemic bonus or extra Bank Holiday. This was long-mooted but the mechanics of applying the bonus to the various sectors on the frontline who put their hand up for inclusion was too laborious. 

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