Query: Our rented apartment was burgled a week before Christmas. The thieves got their hands on a new laptop I had bought for my husband, plus a new bracelet he had bought me, among a few other bits and pieces. We contacted our landlord straight away and she said she had submitted an insurance claim for the damage done to the front door and back window. But she said there was nothing she could do about our stolen items. Surely she can claim for these on her insurance policy?
Answer: The answer is no on this one, according to Deirdre McCarthy of InsureMyHouse.ie. Unless you have your own contents insurance, there is no way a claim can be made in this instance. Your landlord's insurance policy will only cover her interest in the property. The only recourse you might have is if you and/or your husband bought these gifts, and any others that were stolen, with a credit card, Ms McCarthy said.
Then your credit card provider might reimburse you for the stolen goods. But you would need to have receipts to prove your purchases.
Only certain types of credit cards offer this purchase protection benefit.
Query: Our son is in his mid-30s. He has made some bad decisions in relation to money. He is now in a reasonably good job and with his girlfriend, they are expecting their first baby. To give them a start, we were going to give them an apartment we have, free of rent, for a period. Are there tax implications for them and/or us?
Answer: Capital acquisitions tax (CAT) is a tax that imposes a charge on individuals who receive a gift or inheritance where the value of the gift or inheritance exceeds the individual's lifetime tax-free threshold. Free use of the apartment will be considered as a gift from parents to their son and daughter-in-law, according to CEO of Taxback.com Joanna Murphy.
The amount of the gift will be estimated at the market value of annual rent if the property was let on the open market. Where more than one person has the free use of the apartment, the value of the gift is shared.
An individual's lifetime tax-free threshold depends on the relation between the disponer and the disponee. The Group A threshold is available to gifts from parents to children. The Group B threshold is available to all other blood relatives, such as parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.
The Group C threshold is available on behalf of all other individuals not covered in the A and B thresholds.
Since October 2019, the Group A threshold is €335,000, the Group B threshold €32,500 and Group C €16,250. In addition to the tax-free thresholds, the first €3,000 in gifts to any person in any year is exempt from CAT, under the annual small gift exemption. This means that each parent can give a gift to a value of €3,000 to a child and anyone else each calendar year, without any CAT charge arising.
So, the total gift that could be given from both parents to their son and daughter-in-law free of tax is the amount of €12,000 annually.
The small gift exemption does not reduce an individual's group threshold. If annual rent is more than €12,000 annually, both the son and the daughter-in-law will have to use their lifetime tax-free thresholds, respectively Group A and Group C.
There is an obligation to file a CAT return on every individual who uses more than 80pc of their group's threshold, Ms Murphy said.
Query: I'm planning a skiing holiday. Do I need separate travel cover or will the emergency cover on my health insurance policy be sufficient if I have to make any claims?
Answer: You should definitely take out comprehensive travel cover for this holiday, according to Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie.
He said the 'emergency cover abroad' included on most health insurance policies was never meant to be a substitute for full travel cover. And in many cases, skiing may be excluded as a 'hazardous' activity.
Given the high risk of injury with this type of holiday, full travel cover is recommended by Mr Goode. He said the reader should also contact their health insurer and travel insurer prior to travelling, to check all aspects of their cover and understand the process for claiming in the event of an injury or illness.
There are numerous options to select from, such as VHI Multi-Trip, Blue Insurance, Multi-trip.com and AA cover, to name a few.
Your credit card provider might reimburse you for stolen goods, but you would need to have receipts to prove your purchases.
Free use of an apartment will be considered as a gift from parents to their son and daughter-in-law under inheritance tax law.