Q: My son is taking a month off work to travel throughout Europe over the summer. Does he need extra travel cover or is his health insurance and European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) sufficient?
A: It is recommended that travel insurance is always put in place prior to any trips abroad. The European Health Insurance Card only covers you for the equivalent of public hospital treatment in any other European Union country, which means you have no cover if the nearest medical facility is a private hospital. Also, most health insurance plans only cover up to €100,000 for emergency medical treatment while you are abroad, which may not be sufficient in the event of a serious illness or accident, according to Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie.
He says there is no cover on these policies for flight delays, flight cancellations, loss of luggage, theft etc. You can never have enough cover when travelling abroad, and Mr Goode recommends that you hold all three – EHIC, travel insurance and whatever cover is included on your health insurance policy.
More importantly, your son should contact his health insurer and also travel insurer to explain where he intends travelling, the duration of his stay, what activities may be involved (hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, etc) to ensure that everything will be fully covered in the event of an accident.
Where activities are deemed “hazardous”, it may be necessary to top-up the cover, Mr Goode says. There are multiple providers to choose from, but Mr Goode recommends the likes of VHI Multi-Trip or Blue Insurance to start with.
Q: I have been using various trading platforms, including eToro, for my crypto-currency investments for the last two years. I am hoping to be at a stage soon where I want to withdraw. In terms of tax, I don’t know what to do when the money hits my account. Do I need to declare my earnings or will that be taken care of for me?
A: The emergence of online trading and investment platforms, such as eToro, are making this an increasingly common question.
As is the case with gains from any investments, profits earned via these platforms are subject to tax. eToro doesn’t collect taxes for any government authority, according to commercial director of Taxback.com Eileen Devereux.
It is the user’s responsibility to file and pay any applicable taxes in Ireland, or with a foreign tax department if required. Countries have different methods for dealing with taxes, so it is important to check the appropriate code for the country in which returns are being filed.
Taxes must be filed, even if there are no gains, Ms Devereux points out. Capital gains tax (CGT) is the predominant tax applied to income from the disposal of shares or stock. If you make a profit from the sale of shares, you will be liable for 33pc capital gains tax on the earnings.
For example, on a share bought for €10 and sold for €20, a gain of €10 is made, producing a 33pc CGT liability. It does not matter how or where the stocks are traded, standard capital gains tax applies, Ms Devereux said.
While CGT is the only tax applied in most cases on shares, earning a dividend is different in that it will incur income tax, applicable under the normal tax bands.
This income would also be subject to universal social charge (USC). PRSI is also due on what is known as “reckonable income” and includes trading, professional and investment income.
Q: What is replacing P45 and P60 statements?
A: Since January 1 this year, P45s and P60s have been abolished and replaced with an online system as part of PAYE (Pay As You Earn) modernisation, a process initiated by the Revenue Commissioners.
You will no longer get a P45 if you leave your job. Instead, your employer must now send this information electronically to Revenue.
The P60 certificate will be replaced by an end-of-year statement, according to Citizens Information.
Your 2018 P60 is the last P60 that you will get from your employer. Your end-of-year statement for 2019 will be available after December 31 2019 through Revenue’s myAccount service.
An end-of-year statement includes details of all your pay and the income tax, USC and PRSI deducted by your employer during the year.
It also records your Local Property Tax (LPT) deductions (if you choose to have the LPT deducted from your pay).
Most health insurance plans only cover up to €100,000 for emergency medical treatment while you are abroad, which may not be sufficient.
The P60 certificate will be replaced by an end-of-year statement, as part of Revenue’s moves to modernise the PAYE system.