Warning: email scam

The Citizens Information Board has become aware of fraudulent emails which relate to a tax refund and which use a fake “@citizensinformation.ie” email address.

These emails did not issue from the Citizens Information Board.

Anyone who receives an email purporting to be from the Citizens Information Board and suspects it to be fraudulent or a scam should simply delete it.

Anyone who provided personal information in response to these fraudulent emails should contact their bank or credit card company immediately.

Know your rights: Pre-school education for children with disabilities // Oideachas réamhscoile do leanaí faoi mhíchumas

Question

My child is almost three years old and has a disability. Will he be able to access the free Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) year?

Answer (July 2016)

Yes, he will. A new programme – the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) – was launched on 15 June 2016 for enrolments in September 2016. AIM ensures that supports are available for children with special needs so they can fully benefit from the free pre-school year in mainstream pre-schools.

AIM is a child-centred model, involving seven levels of progressive support which offer tailored, practical supports based on the needs of the child and the pre-school provider. It does not require a formal diagnosis of disability.

Levels 1–3 provide universal supports designed to promote and support an inclusive culture in pre-schools. If a pre-school provider and a parent think that additional support may be needed to meet the needs of a particular child, they can apply for additional targeted supports under levels 4–7 of the model. These targeted supports include expert early childhood care and educational advice and mentoring (level 4), specialised equipment, appliances and minor alterations (level 5), therapeutic supports (level 6) or additional capitation to fund extra assistance in the ECCE pre-school room (level 7).

You access AIM supports through your pre-school service provider. If you have not identified a suitable pre-school for your child, your local City or County Childcare Committee will be able to help you. When you have identified a pre-school for your child, your service provider will consider, in consultation with you, what supports may be needed to ensure that your child can participate fully in pre-school. Applications for supports under AIM are made by the service provider via the Pobal website. Pobal are the current administrators of the ECCE programme so your service provider will be familiar with the Pobal website. The application process is now open and will remain open throughout the year.

For advice and support from the Early Years Specialist Service (Access and Inclusion) you can contact (01) 511 7222 or e-mail: onlinesupport@pobal.ie

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

Tá mo leanbh beagnach trí bliana d’aois agus tá sé faoi mhíchumas. An mbeidh sé in ann rochtain a fháil ar an mbliain saor in aisce Cúraim agus Oideachais na Luathóige (COLÓ)?

Freagra

Beidh. Seoladh clár nua – an tSamhail Rochtana agus Chuimsithe (AIM) – an 15 Meitheamh 2016 do chlárú i Meán Fómhair 2016. Cinntíonn AIM go bhfuil tacaíochtaí ar fáil do leanaí a bhfuil riachtanais speisialta acu d’fhonn gur féidir leo tairbhe iomlán a bhaint as an mbliain réamhscoile saor in aisce i réamhscoileanna príomhshrutha.

Samhail leanbhlárnach is ea AIM, ina bhfuil seacht leibhéal de thacaíocht chéimnitheach a sholáthraíonn tacaíochtaí saincheaptha praiticiúla bunaithe ar riachtanais an linbh agus an tsoláthraí réamhscoile. Ní theastaíonn diagnóis fhoirmiúil i leith míchumais ón gclár.

Soláthraíonn leibhéil 1-3 tacaíochtaí uilíocha atá in ainm is cultúr cuimsitheach i réamhscoileanna a chur chun cinn agus tacú leis. Má cheapann soláthraí réamhscoile agus tuismitheoir go bhféadfadh go dteastaíonn tacaíocht bhreise chun freastal ar riachtanais linbh ar leith, féadfaidh siad iarratas a dhéanamh ar thacaíochtaí breise sprioctha faoi leibhéil 4-7 den tsamhail. I measc na dtacaíochtaí sprioctha seo, tá comhairle shaineolach cúraim agus oideachais luathóige agus comhairle agus meantóireacht oideachais (leibhéal 4), trealamh, fearais agus mionathruithe speisialaithe, (leibhéal 5), tacaíochtaí teiripeacha (leibhéal 6) nó caipitíocht bhreise chun cúnamh breise a chistiú i seomra réamhscoile COLÓ (leibhéal 7).

Déanann tú tacaíochtaí AIM a rochtain trí do sholáthraí seirbhíse réamhscoile. Murar shainaithin tú réamhscoil oiriúnach do do leanbh, beidh do Choiste áitiúil Cúram Leanaí Cathrach nó Contae in ann cabhrú leat. Nuair atá réamhscoil sainaitheanta agat do do leanbh, déanfaidh do sholáthraí seirbhíse breithniú, i gcomhar leat féin, ar cén tacaíochtaí a d’fhéadfadh bheith ag teastáil lena chinntiú gur féidir le do leanbh páirt iomlán a ghlacadh sa réamhscoil. Déanann an soláthraí seirbhíse iarratais ar thacaíochtaí faoi AIM trí láithreán gréasáin Pobal. Is é Pobal riarthóirí reatha chlár COLÓ, mar sin, beidh cur amach ag do sholáthraí seirbhíse ar láithreán gréasáin Pobal. Tá an próiseas iarratais ar oscailt anois agus beidh sé ar oscailt i gcaitheamh na bliana.

Chun teacht ar chomhairle agus ar thacaíocht ón tSeirbhís Speisialaithe Luathbhlianta (Rochtain agus Cuimsiú), féadfaidh tú glao ar (01) 511 7222 nó ríomhphost a sheoladh chuig: onlinesupport@pobal.ie

Know your rights: Rent a room relief // Faoiseamh i leith seomra a ligean ar cíos

Question

I have retired from work and am planning to rent my spare room to a student lodger to supplement my pension. Will I have to pay tax on the rental income?

Answer (July 2016)

If you rent out part of your home as residential accommodation, the income you earn is exempt from tax, provided the total paid by the tenant(s) is not more than €12,000 in a tax year and you satisfy the qualifying conditions. This is called rent-a-room relief. It applies to accommodation in your home – which can include a self-contained unit such as a basement flat or a converted garage. It does not apply to rooms that are not attached to your home and it does not apply to rent paid by your child.

You must live in your home as your sole or main residence during the tax year for which you are claiming the relief and the room(s) must be used as residential accommodation. For example, you can claim the relief if you are renting a room to a student for the academic year, but not if you are taking in short-term guests.

If you rent a room in your home, residential tenancies legislation does not apply. So, if you are only renting out a room, you do not have to register as a landlord with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), provide a rent book to the tenant or ensure that the accommodation meets any minimum physical standards. However, if you rent out a self-contained unit such as a basement flat, the legislation does apply.

The gross income you get cannot be more than €12,000 in a tax year. This includes sums that the tenant pays to you for food, utilities, laundry or similar goods and services. When you are working out whether the gross income is more than this limit, you cannot deduct any costs that you incurred in earning that income. If your income from rent and other services is over the limit, the entire income (not just the amount over the limit) is taxable.

If you qualify for rent-a-room relief, the income is not liable to PRSI, the Universal Social Charge or income tax. Claiming rent-a-room relief does not affect your mortgage interest relief or your exemption from Capital Gains Tax (CGT) if you sell your home. You do not have to claim rent-a-room relief as it applies automatically. However, if you are submitting an annual tax return you must record the amount of the exempt income on the return.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

Táim imithe ar scor ón obair agus beartaím chun mo sheomra breise a ligean ar cíos le lóistéir mac léinn chun cur le mo phinsean. An mbeidh orm cáin a íoc ar an ioncam cíosa?

Freagra

Má ligeann tú cuid de do theach mar chóiríocht chónaithe, tá an t-ioncam a thuilleann tú díolmhaithe ó cháin, a fhad agus nach ionann an méid iomlán a íocann an tionónta/na tionóntaí agus breis agus €12,000 i mbliain chánach agus go sásaíonn tú na coinníollacha cáilitheacha.  Tugtar faoiseamh i leith seomra a ligean ar cíos air seo. Baineann sé le cóiríocht i do theach – ar féidir le haonad féinchuimsitheach bheith i gceist leis, ar nós árasán íoslaigh nó garáiste athchóirithe. Ní bhaineann sé le seomraí nach bhfuil ceangailte le do theach agus ní bhaineann sé le cíos a íocann do leanbh.

Ní mór duit cónaí i do theach mar d’áit aonair nó d’áit phríomha chónaithe i rith na bliana cánach ina bhfuil an faoiseamh á éileamh agat agus ní mór an seomra/na seomraí a úsáid mar chóiríocht chónaithe. Mar shampla, féadfaidh tú an faoiseamh a éileamh má tá seomra á ligean ar cíos agat le mac léinn don bhliain acadúil, ach ní féidir leat amhlaidh a dhéanamh má tá aíonna gearrthéarmacha á nglacadh isteach agat.

Má ligeann tú seomra i do theach amach ar cíos, ní bhaineann an reachtaíocht um thionóntachtaí cónaithe. Mar sin, mura bhfuil ach seomra á ligean ar cíos agat, ní gá duit clárú mar thiarna talún leis an mBord um Thionóntachtaí Cónaithe Príobháideacha (an BTCP), leabhar cíosa a sholáthar don tionónta nó a chinntiú go gcomhlíonann an chóiríocht aon chaighdeáin íosta fhisiciúla. Má ligeann tú aonad féinchuimsitheach ar cíos, áfach, ar nós árasán íoslaigh, baineann an reachtaíocht.

Ní féidir leis an ollioncam a fhaigheann bheith níos mó ná €12,000 i mbliain chánach. Áirítear leis seo suimeanna a íocann an tionónta leat as bia, fóntais, níochán nó a macasamhail d’earraí agus seirbhísí. Nuair a dheimhníonn tú an bhfuil an t-ollioncam os cionn nó faoi bhun na teorann, ní féidir leat aon chostais a thabhaigh tú leis an ioncam sin a thuilleamh a asbhaint.  Má sháraíonn d’ioncam ó chíos agus seirbhísí eile an teorainn, tá na brabúis ón ioncam iomlán (ní hamháin an méid a sháraíonn an teorainn) incháinaithe.

Má cháilíonn tú d’fhaoiseamh i leith seomra a ligean ar cíos, níl an t-ioncam faoi dhliteanas ÁSPC, an Muirear Sóisialta Uilíoch nó cáin ioncaim. Ní dhéanann faoiseamh i leith cáin ioncaim a éileamh aon difear do d’fhaoiseamh i leith ús morgáiste nó do dhíolúine ó Cháin Ghnóthachan Caipitiúil (CGC) má dhíolann tú do theach. Ní gá duit faoiseamh i leith seomra a ligean a éileamh mar gheall go gcuirtear i bhfeidhm go huathoibríoch é. Ma tá tuairisceán bliantúil cánach á sheoladh ar ais agat, áfach, ní mór duit méid an ioncaim dhíolmhaithe a chur i dtaifead ar an tuairisceán.

Coping with hot weather

While we are all delighted to see bright blue skies across Ireland this week, older and very young people can find very hot temperatures difficult to cope with.

The National Ambulance Service has a range of advice on how to deal with warm weather and the HSE has advice on coping with heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

If you are barbecuing safefood has information on how to cook and store food safely. 

And, of course, always cover up and use sunscreen in the sun. The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has information on the standards to look out for when buying sunscreen, sunglasses, armbands, tents and other summer equipment.

Census 2016

The census is a detailed account of everybody who is in the country on census night. On Sunday 24 April 2016 everybody in Ireland was required to enter their details on a census form.

The first results of the 2016 census were released today and show that the preliminary total of the population enumerated on census night was 4,757,976 persons. This compares with 4,588,252 persons in April 2011, an increase of 169,724 persons since 2011 or 3.7 percent. This release also contains first results on housing and vacant dwellings and show the number of occupied houses has increased by 49,285 since April 2011 while the number of vacant dwellings has fallen by 29,889.

Further results will be released in different phases as they become available during 2017, commencing with “This is Ireland, Part 1 – Principal Demographic Results” due to be published in March 2017.

View full preliminary results on census.ie and read the press release from the Central Statistics Office. 

Know your rights: Garda vetting // Grinnfhiosrúchán an Gharda Síochána

Question

I have applied for a job in a sports club and have been told that I must be vetted by the Gardaí. What does this mean?

Answer (July 2016)

Since 29 April 2016, people working with children or vulnerable adults must be vetted by the Garda Síochána National Vetting Bureau. Workers include staff, volunteers and those on student placements working for an organisation through which they have unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults.

Under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012–2016, organisations that require Garda vetting of individuals must register with the National Vetting Bureau. These include childcare services, schools, hospitals, health services and organisations providing leisure, sporting or physical activities to children and/or vulnerable people.

If you are applying for a job with a registered organisation, the organisation will send you a vetting invitation form. You must complete the form and return to the organisation with proof of your identity. After validating your identity, the organisation will send you an email with a link to the vetting application form. You then apply to be vetted online using e-Vetting. If you wish, you may apply using a paper form instead. If you are aged under 18 you must submit a signed parent or guardian consent form.

After reviewing your vetting application, the organisation submits it to the National Vetting Bureau. The National Vetting Bureau processes the application and sends a vetting disclosure to the organisation. A vetting disclosure may include details of convictions and pending prosecutions or a statement that there is no criminal record. The organisation will review the disclosure and will send you a copy of it.

You can track the progress of your e-Vetting application online.

Further information is available from the National Vetting Bureau.  

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

Rinne mé iarratas ar phost i gcumann spóirt agus dúradh liom nach mór go ndéanfar grinnfhiosrúchán an Gharda Síochána orm. Cad a chiallaíonn seo?

Freagra

Ón 29 Aibreán 2016, ní mór grinnfhiosrúchán de chuid Bhiúró Náisiúnta Grinnfhiosrúcháin an Gharda Síochána a dhéanamh ar dhaoine a oibríonn le leanaí nó le daoine fásta leochaileacha. I measc na n-oibrithe, tá foireann, oibrithe deonacha agus iad siúd ar shocrúcháin mac léinn atá ag oibriú d’eagraíocht trína mbíonn rochtain neamh-mhaoirsithe acu ar leanaí agus/nó ar dhaoine fásta leochaileacha.

Faoi na hAchtanna um an mBiúró Náisiúnta Grinnfhiosrúcháin (Leanaí agus Daoine Fásta Leochaileacha), 2012-2016, ní mór d’eagraíochtaí a cheanglaíonn go ndéantar grinnfhiosrúchán an Gharda Síochána ar dhaoine aonair clárú leis an mBiúró Náisiúnta Grinnfhiosrúcháin.  Áirítear leo seo seirbhísí cúram leanaí, scoileanna, ospidéil, seirbhísí sláinte agus eagraíochtaí a sholáthraíonn gníomhaíochtaí fóillíochta, spóirt nó fisiciúla do leanaí agus/nó do dhaoine leochaileacha.

Má tá iarratas á dhéanamh agat ar phost le heagraíocht chláraithe, seolfaidh an eagraíocht foirm chuiridh grinnfhiosrúcháin chugat. Ní mór duit an fhoirm a chomhlánú agus í a sheoladh ar ais chuig an eagraíocht le cruthúnas i leith d’aitheantais. I ndiaidh d’aitheantas a bhailíochtú, seolfaidh an eagraíocht ríomhphost chugat ina bhfuil nasc leis an bhfoirm iarratais ar ghrinnfhiosrúchán. Ansin déanann tú iarratas go ndéanfar grinnfhiosrúchán ort ar líne trí ríomh-Ghrinnfhiosrúchán a úsáid. Más mian leat, féadfaidh tú iarratas a dhéanamh trí fhoirm pháipéir a úsáid ina ionad sin.  Má tá tú faoi bhun 18 mbliana d’aois, ní mór duit foirm shínithe thuismitheora nó chaomhnóra a sheoladh ar aghaidh.

I ndiaidh athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar d’iarratas ar ghrinnfhiosrúchán, seolann an eagraíocht é chuig an mBiúró Náisiúnta Grinnfhiosrúcháin. Próiseálann an Biúró Náisiúnta Grinnfhiosrúcháin an t-iarratas agus seolann sé nochtadh grinnfhiosrúcháin chuig an eagraíocht. Féadtar a áireamh le nochtadh grinnfhiosrúcháin sonraí faoi chiontuithe agus ionchúisimh atá ar feitheamh nó ráiteas nach bhfuil aon taifead coiriúil ag an duine sin.  Déanfaidh an eagraíocht athbhreithniú ar an nochtadh agus seolfaidh sí cóip de chugat.

Féadfaidh tú dul chun cinn d’iarratais ar ríomh-Ghrinnfhiosrúchán a rianú ar líne.

Tá fáil ar thuilleadh faisnéise ón mBiúró Náisiúnta Grinnfhiosrúcháín ar https://vetting.garda.ie/.

Know your rights: State pensions and qualified adults // Pinsin stáit agus daoine fásta cáilithe

Question

I am retiring from work when I turn 66 and will be eligible for a reduced-rate State Pension (Contributory) of €198.60. My husband is getting his full State Pension (Contributory) of €233. He thinks we would be better off if he claimed for me as a qualified adult on his pension. Is he correct? If we do this, will all the money be paid to him?

Answer

If your husband claims for you as a qualified adult on his pension, then his pension will consist of €233 plus an increase of €209 – a total of €442. The increase is automatically paid directly to you (although you can request that it is paid with your husband’s pension). If you decide to claim a reduced rate contributory pension then the total for you both will be €431.60. Therefore, it would appear that you are indeed better off being a qualified adult.

However, there are other factors that you should take into account. While your husband’s pension is not means tested, the Increase for a Qualified Adult is means tested. This means that any income you have in your own right from employment, self-employment, savings, investments and capital (for example, any property except your own home) is taken into account. If you have joint savings or investments with your spouse, half is taken into account.

You also need to look at the tax situation. Your husband is entitled to claim a PAYE tax credit (€1,650) with his pension. Even though the Increase for a Qualified Adult is paid directly to you it is not a social welfare payment to you so you cannot claim a PAYE tax credit of €1,650. However if you claim a social welfare payment in your own right (for example, your reduced-rate pension) you can claim a full PAYE tax credit.

You should analyse both options carefully and do detailed calculations, taking all the factors that affect how much you receive into account. After you do the calculations, you may find that you are better off claiming the reduced-rate contributory pension in your own right.

Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.

Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.

Ceist

Beidh mé ag dul ar scor ón obair nuair a bhainfidh mé 66 bliain amach agus beidh mé incháilithe do Phinsean Stát (Ranníocach) ar ráta laghdaithe €198.60 a fháil. Tá a Phinsean Stáit (Ranníocach) iomlán €233 á fháil ag m’fhear céile. Ceapann sé go mb’fhearr dó éileamh a dhéanamh dom mar dhuine fásta cáilithe ar a phinsean. An bhfuil an ceart aige? Má dhéanaimid seo, an íocfar an t-airgead leis?

Freagra

Má dhéanann d’fhear céile éileamh duit mar dhuine fásta cáilithe ar a phinsean, is éard a bheidh sa phinsean €233 móide méadú €209 – arb ionann sin agus €442 ar an iomlán. Íoctar an méadú go huathoibríoch go díreach leat (cé gur féidir leat a iarraidh go n-íoctar é le pinsean d’fhir chéile). Má dhéanann tú an cinneadh chun pinsean ranníocach ar ráta laghdaithe a éileamh, is ionann a bheidh an t-iomlán don bheirt agaibh agus €431.60. Ar an ábhar sin, tá an dealramh air, go deimhin, gur fearr duit bheith mar dhuine fásta cáilithe.

Tá roinnt tosca eile ann ar cheart duit a chur san áireamh, áfach. Cé nach ndéantar tástáil mhaoine ar phinsean d’fhir chéile, déantar tástáil mhaoine ar an Méadú do Dhuine Fásta Cáilithe. Ciallaíonn seo go gcuirtear san áireamh aon ioncam atá agat i do cheart féin ó fhostaíocht, féinfhostaíocht, coigilteas, infheistíochtaí agus caipiteal (mar shampla, aon mhaoin seachas do theach féin). Má tá comhchoigilteas nó comhinfheistíochtaí agat le do chéile, cuirtear leath díobh san áireamh.

Chomh maith leis sin, tá ort súil a chaitheamh ar an gcás cánach. Tá d’fhear céile i dteideal creidmheas cánach ÍMAT (€1,650) a éileamh lena phinsean. Cé go n-íoctar an Méadú do Dhuine Fásta Cáilithe go díreach leat, ní hionann é agus íocaíocht leasa shóisialaigh duit, mar sin, ní féidir leat creidmheas cánach ÍMAT €1,650 a éileamh. Má éilíonn tú íocaíocht leasa shóisialaigh i do cheart féin, áfach, (mar shampla, do phinsean ar ráta laghdaithe), féadfaidh tú creidmheas cánach iomlán ÍMAT a éileamh.

Ba cheart duit anailís a dhéanamh ar an dá rogha go cúramach agus ríomhanna mionsonraithe a dhéanamh, agus gach ceann de na tosca a chur san áireamh a imríonn tionchar ar cé mhéid a fhaigheann tú isteach i do chuntas. I ndiaidh duit na ríomhanna a dhéanamh, b’fhéidir gur dealraitheach duit gur fearr duit an pinsean ranníocaíoch ar ráta laghdaithe a éileamh i do cheart féin.