Budget 2015: The main points

Budget 2015: The main points

Increases in child benefit, a partial restoration of the Christmas bonus scheme, changes to the entry level of the Universal Social Charge and two new USC rates for higher earners and the self employed.

They are some of the main features of Budget 2015 which for the first time in seven years sees no new spending cuts or overall tax increases.

The entry level at which the Universal Social Charge is paid is being raised to €12,000 and there are two new USC rates of 8% for anyone earning more than €70,000 a year and an 11% rate for the self employed earning more than €100,000 per annum.

The standard income tax rate band will increase by €1,000 and the higher income tax rate will drop from of 41% to 40%.

There is to be a €5 increase in child benefit for all children, the living alone allowance goes up to €9 per week while a 25% Christmas bonus scheme for pensioners and those on social welfare is being introduced.

Tax refunds to offset water charges are on the way and the household benefits package is to be increased by €100 also to alleviate the water charge cost.

The popular 9% VAT rate on hospatality services is being maintained and, as regards the so-called old reliables, there are to be no increases on alcohol.

However cigerettes will rise by 40 cents from midnight with a pro rata increase on other tobacco products.

Petrol and diesel prices will remain unchanged as will motor tax and VRT.

More than €2.2bn has been announced for social housing, health is set to benefit from an increased €13bn budget, while new teachers and Gardaí are to be hired.

A new package on corporate tax has been announced.

It will eliminate the so-called "double Irish", which allows foreign companies reduce their tax liabilities, for new entrants from January, however existing schemes will remain in place until 2020.

Prospective first-time buyers are to be given a concession to help them save a deposit.

Minister Noonan has announced they will have DIRT tax refunded and he says he expected the banks to launch new savings products specifically aimed at first-time buyers

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