The Government has published the Finance Bill 2018, which will give effect to the measures announced in Budget 2019.

However the bill also includes a number of measures not announced by Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe last week.

Measures in the bill provide for changes to the Universal Social Charge, which will see the ceiling of the 2% band increased by €502, alongside a reduction in the 4.75% rate to 4.5%.

Meanwhile Income Tax Standard Rate Bans will increase by €750.

Elsewhere the bill brings the VAT rate on tourism activities back to 13.5%, up from the reduced 9% rate that was introduced in 2011.

It also cuts the VAT rate on the digital editions of newspapers from 23% to 9%.

It increases the Betting Duty from 1% to 2%, with the rate charged on betting intermediaries set to rise from 15% to 25%.

While a 1% Vehicle Registration Tax surcharge is introduced for diesel passenger cars.

The bill also allows for a 50c increase in the duty charged on a packet of 20 cigarettes, though this change was put in place on the night of the Budget.

Included in the newly-announced measures, the bill proposes exempting from income tax compensation payments made by the Magdalen Laundries Restorative Justice Ex Gratia Scheme, as well as payments made to individuals infected by Hepatitis C from contaminated blood products.

A number of the bill's new measures also aim to close loopholes in existing legislation.

One technical change sees the introduction of a minimum rental period for those claiming the Rent a Room relief, which is designed to ensure that it is not used by home owners offering short-term, AirBnB-style accommodation. 

The relief was introduced in 2001 to increase the amount of student accommodation in the country and allows homeowners to earn up to €14,000 tax free when they rent out part of their property.

Meanwhile the Department of Finance aims to close a loophole that arose through the Panama Papers, which could allow an individual to avoid tax by disguising a company's profits as a loan to a non-resident firm.

Other measures include the extension of the tax on Sugar Sweetened Drinks to milk substitute or milk fat-based drinks that contain less than 119mg of calcium per 100ml.

The department said this was to ensure that there is a nutritional benefit to the dairy-based drinks exempt from the tax, which was a commitment given to the European Commission during the State aid approval process for the tax.

Compliance with Europe's State Aid rules also led to a number of changes to the Young Trained Farmer relief, with a business plan now required for those seeking a retrospective refund of Stamp Duty.

Meanwhile a lifetime cap of €70,000 has also been introduced on the combined value of the young trained farmers stamp duty relief, stock relief on income tax and the succession farm partnerships tax credit.

Elsewhere the bill seeks to end VRT relief on leased or hired vehicles, while also introducing a pro-rata VRT charge on leased vehicles that are temporarily based in the country.

The bill also changes the definition of Co2 emissions, which will bring the country in line with the standard used by the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure.