QI did some early Christmas shopping last weekend. I spent more than €800. I went for a coffee before going home and put all the presents and toys in the boot of my car. When I got back to the car, it had been broken into and the boot emptied. However, when I contacted my insurer, they said they don’t cover theft of items from a boot, even though I had it locked. Could this be good?
A Some insurers will cover you if gifts or other items are stolen from the boot of your car, but not all will, according to Insuremycars.ie managing director Jonathan Hehir.
Even those insurers that cover this risk usually only cover a fraction of the cost. Some insurers, for example, may only cover you up to €150 if gifts or personal possessions are stolen from the boot of your car when your car is unattended, others may offer cover of up to €400.
Some insurers do not cover the theft of personal belongings from your car, including from your car boot, Mr Hehir said. Check your home insurance to see if you have any coverage for unspecified items.
Cover for unspecified items usually offers some cover for items stolen from your car – even if the car is not parked at home.
Even if your insurance covers theft of items from your boot, lock your boot if you leave any presents or Christmas shopping in your car while you’re alone. Otherwise, your insurer will likely refuse to pay.
Q I started a new job and one of the advantages is that my employer pays all my private health insurance. I heard that I have to pay tax on this advantage. Is this right and how do I make sure I am paying the right tax?
A Workplace perks are known as benefits in kind (BIK) and as these benefits have a monetary value, they should generally be treated as taxable income, according to Ray McKenna, partner at pension specialists and Lockton employee benefits.
It is usually the employer who puts the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that you pay the correct BIK tax
You must pay BIK tax on private health insurance that the employer pays in full, or in part, on your behalf. Income tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge (USC) are typically payable on the value of the benefit.
It is usually the employer who puts the necessary arrangements in place to ensure that you pay the correct BIK tax on your private health insurance.
You are entitled to tax relief on your private health insurance. This tax relief can offset some, if not all, of your BIK tax bill.
This tax relief, which is given at a rate of 20pc on the cost of the policies (up to a limit of €1,000 for adults and €500 for children), is usually given at source, which means that you usually do not need to claim the exemption. Check whether you are receiving your tax relief at source. If not, ask for it yourself.
Q I used to be self-employed but I’m now moving to a PAYE job, and I’ll stop being self-employed this month. I set up my own Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) while self-employed and have been claiming tax relief on my pension contributions into it ever since. My new employer does not provide an occupational pension, but does provide access to a PRSA. When I move to a PAYE job, I want to continue saving in my existing PRSA rather than the one my new employer provides access to. Can I still claim tax relief on my pension contributions if I do this?
A As your employer does not offer a company pension scheme, you can continue to get tax relief on contributions to your existing PRSA when you move to your new job. This is up to the limits allowed by the Revenue, according to Glenn Gaughran, head of business development at Independent Trustee Company.
As you were self-employed for most of this year, you can claim tax relief on the contributions you made to your PRSA in 2022 when you file your income tax return of your self-assessment, using Form 11, for the tax year 2022.
Ask your new employer to deduct your pension contributions from your wages into your existing PRSA
For tax year 2023 and onwards, you can claim your tax relief via Form 12, which is used by people whose main source of income is PAYE income, Mr Gaughran said .
Ask your new employer to deduct your pension contributions from your wages into your existing PRSA. There is no obligation on your employer to do this as they have already provided you with access to PRSA and therefore fulfilled their obligations.
However, your employer may facilitate such a request. The advantage is that usually your employer will give you relief from the tax due, rather than having to ask for it yourself.