Blog – McCarthy & Associates – Galway Talks, 11/06/2015

Issue: The Euro v’s The Dollar !!
Comment: For anybody traveling to the states this summer it is going to be a particularly expensive time due to the exchange rate. The outlook is that the Euro will remain weak against the dollar for a considerable period of time.

Question: Are the rates available from An Post better than what I receive on a bank deposit?
Answer: As An Post is a deposit taker like any other institution, their rates are also influenced by the market and in turn by the ECB. The return An Post offers on certain bonds is reflective of the market rate, whilst they may be marginally more attractive, there is no considerable benefit from any of their products.

Issue: Inheritance Tax Thresholds causing a problem for surviving children.
Comment: This matter is causing a lot of problems. With the threshold from parent to child falling from in excess of €500,000 at one stage, to a current level of €225,000. In some cases the beneficiary of the inheritance may have to sell the property or other assets to pay the inheritance tax.
Inheritance Tax was originally designed to tax wealthier estates but with the current threshold level more people are being brought into the net than ever before. I think it is possible that the Minister will increase the tax free ceilings in the next budget.

Question: I have a buy-to-let home and I am wondering when I make my tax returns, can I claim the premiums on the Life Policy attached to the mortgage as an expense?
Answer: In the normal course of things Life Assurance Premiums are not tax deductible. However if it is an expense relating to the mortgage you have on a buy-to-let property then you can be claim it.
This is a deduction a lot of people are not aware of and overlook in making their returns.

Question: I am concerned about under-insuring my home. Can you tell me what guidelines the insurance companies use for rebuilding costs?
Answer: The insurance companies refer to the rebuild guidelines outlined by the Society of Chartered Surveyors. If you log onto their website at you will find the rate per square foot for the region of the country where your house is. Once you multiply this by the square footage of your property it will determine the correct amount you should be insuring your property for.
Remember, the sum you should insure your house for is the rebuilding cost not the market value of the property.