Blog – McCarthy & Associates – Galway Talks, 25/02/2016

Issue: Now may be a good time to switch your mortgage and get a cheaper deal – see website
Comment: Competition has hotted up in the mortgage market to attract switchers. This is due to the fact that the number of applications from new buyers has dropped dramatically.
Banks are now trying to attract borrowers who may want to switch their mortgage and there are some very attractive deals available.
So now may be the time to shop around and get a better rate on your current mortgage. As if to underline this change in the marketplace, the Competition Commission have launched a website at which has a very handy calculator for consumers where they can enter the details of their mortgage and see if there is a better offer from another bank.

Issue: Times are changing when a bank provides you with free banking without asking for it!
Comment: Another sign of competition in the banking market has been the many offers available offering reduced or free bank charges if you switch your account. For many years the consumer has been constantly hit with high banking costs and finally it is about time competition has driven costs.
Permanent TSB have been attracting a lot of current accounts for their offering. AIB must be hurting from this, as they have now written to customers who have a current account with them and also a mortgage, automatically giving them free banking.
Certainly times have changed when you will get something for nothing from a bank!

Question: I have some investments and they are all taxed at the DIRT rate of 41%. Are there any other options available which taxes any gains at a lower rate?
Answer: Deposit Interest and Exit Tax on Life Assurance Investments are all taxed on any gains at 41%. In addition some Term Investments (Structured Bonds) are also taxed at 41%.
However, a number of other Structured Bonds, which are investments for a fixed period of time, have been launched and gains are taxed at Capital Gains Tax Rate of 33% less an annual allowance of €1,270 per annum.
To answer this listener’s question–yes there are options available that will lower the tax liability on any gains you make.