Christmas is fast approaching and people look forward to this time of the year where merriment is experienced everywhere. Employees are likewise looking forward to their Christmas bonuses.

There is certainly good news for Irish employees as the Christmas bonus which was abolished in 2009 is set to be restored by 75 percent this year. This news means that a single pensioner will receive 173 euro and a pensioner couple will get their share of 327 euro. Accordingly the price of a packet of cigarette is set to increase by 50 cent. The Minister of Finance for Ireland, Michael Noonan, had 750 million euro which will correspondingly increase to 800 euro because of the increase perpetuated on cigarettes.

Out of the amount, 600 euro will go to the changes in the Universal Social Charge and will be given as tax credits for those who are self-employed. This amount is set to rise over three years. On the other hand, the fuel allowance payment will also increase by 2.5o euro per week starting January. The Respite Care Giant will also be fully restored. Another 120 million euro is allocated for housing. Free preschool for children with the age of three will be given to parents and they can also avail of a two week paid paternity leave. Indeed, the community for childcare subvention has increased. When it comes to Universal Social Charge, the changes to three from four rates have been leaked well. The 7 percent rate has been cut by 1.5 percent while the 1.5 and 3.5 percent rates were cut by .5 percent.

Meanwhile the threshold where people pay the USC currently stands at about 12,000 euro which is expected to rise to 13,000 euro and will take some 90,000 people out of the tax picture. There will also be changes to the inheritance tax thresholds. Currently, children can inherit up to 225,000 euro from their parents and this is free of tax while the remaining balance will be taxed at 33 percent. Changes will also be made to the treatment of capital gains tax which will be solely geared for businesses. The threshold is deemed to rise to around 280,000 euro but will only be affecting the children as well as the family home.

Though these changes in the Irish taxation system may be affecting in an adverse manner to some residents, this will not keep the citizens from having a grand celebration of Christmas. Many are creatively thinking how to wrap their presents and some even are pushing the idea of black gift box.

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