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Budget 2017 is being announced on next Tuesday - what can you expect?

A couple of things have already been flagged, so here's what to look out for...

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe will announce Budget 2017 in the Dåil next Tuesday, 11 October.

It’s never easy to predict what’s going to come up in the Budget, but there have been clear signals about some specific parts. Here’s what we’ve heard so far…

There’s likely to be a change to the Universal Social Charge

This one has been mooted for quite a while, but no-one is quite sure just yet what form it will take. Some of the options are:

  • A review of the threshold amount. Currently, anyone earning over €13,000 pays the Universal Social Charge (USC) on their whole income. Last year, Minister Noonan raised this from €12,012 - so perhaps he’ll look at another amendment to remove more workers from the USC bracket.
  • A change to the rates. Currently, anyone earning over €13,000 pays 1% USC on the first €12,012 of their income, 3% on the next €6,656 , 5.5% on the next €51,376 and 8% on the balance. The first three rates were reduced in last year’s Budget, so maybe Minister Noonan will look to do the same again.

The exact form the change will take remains to be seen - but it’s very likely that the highest rate will remain unchanged.

Some help for first-time buyers is on the way

Some weeks ago, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney, signalled that a measure to help first-time buyers would be coming down the line.

Some are predicting a return of the first-time buyers grant, or some form of tax rebate for this cohort of borrowers.

With the increased deposit requirements that came into effect last year, this move will surely be welcomed by those hoping to get on the property ladder.

We’ll probably see increases on (some of) the usual suspects

It’s very likely that there will be an increase on cigarettes again in this Budget - we’ve seen steady increases over the past number of years.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has called for a 15% decrease in the excise duty on alcohol. While this is unlikely, it’s also not clear yet whether there will be any increase in this area

There’s also some speculation that there will be an increase on diesel, so that could crop up on Tuesday, too.

Other things to look out for

Some others things to watch out for are: changes to the state pension allowance (Fianna Fåil is calling for an increase); a change in the minimum wage; spending increases in health; and supports for Irish firms exporting to the UK, following the Brexit vote.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, has also been calling for a Single Affordable Childcare Scheme - so we could see something on that, too.

Once the budget is announced next week, we’ll take a close look at it and will bring you some information on how the changes announced could impact your pocket in 2017.