Your money - 16 May 2012
Q. I have recently received a refund of income tax in respect of the year 2011. I was subsequently looking at my form P60 and I feel that I may be entitled to a refund of PRSI as due to a change in circumstances during the year 2011 I should have been paying PRSI at a lower rate than I had at the start of the year, however my employer did not appear to make the adjustment. Can I make a claim for this refund?
A. Yes you may certainly claim a refund and this is quite a common occurrence. Refunds of PRSI are made to employers and employees where contributions have been paid in error. In cases where a refund is due, amendments to the social insurance record of the person involved may be required. In addition, any refund made to a person where PRSI or the class of PRSI was incorrectly paid will take account of any benefit paid as a result of the incorrect PRSI and any such benefit incorrectly paid may be deducted from the refund of the person involved.
Most refunds arise as a result of people paying at the incorrect rate and relate mainly to the following: company directors whose class of insurance changes from Class A to Class S; persons either under or over the wage or salary threshold or ceiling, applying in certain years; employees over 66 years who continue to pay the full PRSI rate applicable to their employment; and permanent and pensionable employees of Local and Public Authorities who have paid at an incorrect PRSI rate. Medical cardholders, recipients of Widow’s Pension, Deserted Wife’s Benefit, One Parent Family Payments, and those with EU equivalents were not liable to pay the Health Contribution when this was in force.
In these cases employers may not be aware of the employee’s status, resulting in the wrong rate of PRSI being deducted. When this is discovered refunds are applied for and granted.
With effect from 1st January 2010, an application for the return of PRSI contributions must be made within four years of the last day of the contribution year in respect of which the contributions concerned were paid.
In cases where the refund is due to:
• a change of class of contribution,
• earnings under the threshold or over the ceiling,
• health contributions paid in error,
• errors in calculation,
• PRSI paid in error where certain exemptions apply such as maintenance payments or Maternity Benefit or Illness Benefit cases,
Claims for refunds should be made in writing and a copy of the P60 for the previous tax year should be sent to:
PRSI Refunds Section,
Department of Social Protection,
212-213 Pearse Street
Ted: (01) 6732586
PRSI refunds are also due where pension contributions, e.g. PRSA, RAC and AVC, are made other than through a scheme provided by an employer. Prior to making a claim for a pension PRSI refund to the Office of the Collector General, an application for a refund of tax on the pension contribution must be made to the applicant’s tax district at the end of the tax year. Claims for refunds in respect of pension contributions should be made in writing and a copy of the P60 for the tax year to which the claim relates should be sent to:
Customer Services Section,
Office of the Collector General,
Lo Call: 1890 203070
Please note that employee contributions to pension funds are no longer eligible for PRSI relief with effect from 2011.
Finally, any refund may be reduced in respect of the following:
a. the amount of any contributions paid in error
b. an amount equivalent to the amount of any benefit paid to a client by reason of such contributions having been paid in error
c. an amount equal to the amount of any outstanding PRSI liability.
Q. I understand there is a change to the scheme available where graduates can apply for an internship. Can you provide some information in relation to this as I am currently unemployed and would welcome any type of job?
A. Job Bridge is the National Internship Scheme that provides work experience placements for interns for a six or nine month period.
The aim of the national internship scheme is to assist in breaking the cycle where jobseekers are unable to get a job without experience either as new entrants to the labour market after education or training or a s unemployed workers looking to learn new skills. The scheme will also give people the opportunity to gain valuable experience to bridge the gap between study and working.
Under the original scheme which commenced on 1st July 2011 up to 5,000 work experience placements in the private, public and voluntary sectors will be available. This number has been increased to 6,000 with effect from 28th May 2012. Interns who qualify will receive an allowance of €50 per week on top of their existing social welfare entitlement. This will be payable for the period of the internship.
To be eligible for this scheme, you must be unemployed and actively seeking work. In addition, you need to be:
• Currently in receipt of a live claim (Jobseeker’s Allowance/Jobseeker’s Benefit/Signing for Credits) on the live register and have been in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit/Jobseeker’s Allowance or signing for Social Insurance Contribution Credits for a total of three months or more in the last six months.
This means that period spent on Back to Education Allowance, VTOS, FÁS/Fáilte Ireland Training Courses, U3, FIT, Community Employment Schemes, Social Economy Programmes, Rural Social Schemes, Back to Work Schemes, FÁS Job Incentive or Job Assist do not count as meeting the eligibility of Job Bridge. Commencement of the internship is dependent on the Department of Social Protection confirming an individual’s eligibility.
The extended scheme has also revised the eligibility criteria to include those in receipt of One Parent Family Payment and Disability Allowance.
For further information in relation to the internships, please go to www.jobbridge.ie. The website includes details of the companies and organisations who are involved in the scheme and with whom you may be able to obtain an internship along with full information on eligibility details of the scheme and a short application form.
Good luck with your search.