Trumpcare: DC-bound Gov. Scott diagnoses too few taxpayer advocates

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he is heading to Washington this week to stick up for taxpayers at risk of getting overlooked in the obsessive focus on millions who could lose health care or get charged more.

That’s good news for taxpayers making more than $200,000 a year, who risk being denied major tax cuts if the GOP House and Senate fail to agree on an Obamacare overhaul.

Gov. Rick Scott speaking during a visit to West Palm Beach on June 13, 2017,  with House Speaker Richard Corcoran (left). (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

“There seems to be a lot of people advocating for more government and higher costs in Washington and not a lot of people advocating on behalf of taxpayers,” Scott said in statement ahead of his trip. “I look forward to traveling to Washington to fight for Florida families and ensure there is a health care proposal that dismantles the terrible, expensive mess of Obamacare. Let’s remember, costs have skyrocketed under Obamacare and we need a new health care policy that allows patients to have access to quality healthcare at an affordable price.”

The House and Senate GOP plans differ on a few points, but agree on the basics of one thing: a $1 trillion tax cut for corporations and high earners, including individuals making more than $200,000 a year, or $250,000 a year for couples. Those taxes were imposed to pay for the Affordable Care Act.

Scott’s office said it did not have figures handy for how many Floridians would benefit.

The median household income in Florida in 2015 was $49,426, according to Census data, down from $54,646 in 2007. About 4.1 percent of Florida households have been calculated to make more than $200,000 a  year, though that not all of them would be subject to the ACA’s investment and payroll taxes because a household with a couple filing jointly would be affected on income above $250,000.

About 90 percent of the benefit from repealing the taxes would go to the top 1 percent of U.S. earners, who make $700,000 or more, The Associated Press reported.

Billionaire Warren Buffett told CNBC his personal tax bill would be 17 percent lower, about $680,000 on his tax bill of a little less than $4 million.

GOP donor Sheldon Adelson could see his tax bill trimmed by about $43.5 million, Business Insider reported, citing an analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Scott would have saved about $246,000 on his 2013 tax return, Politico reported.

Scott, a former hospital company executive, does not take his $130,273 annual state salary. He said he wants to create jobs and cut taxes for everybody, citing 55 tax cuts for $6.5 billion in his tenure by April.

Immediate tax cuts retroactive to the start of 2017 would affect those making $200,000 or more a year. More broadly, the long-term direction of Medicaid, a critical focus of Obamacare replacement efforts, affects a deeper base of taxpayers who support the program through state and U.S. taxes. Medicaid covers 4 million Floridians, including about half the childbirths, 70 percent of seniors in nursing homes and 41 percent of Palm Beach County’s children.

As U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, has pointed out in town hall meetings, removing Obamacare’s tax penalty of $695 or more for not having health insurance would also represent a tax cut. That would provide a measure of relief for those who do not want coverage, hope they won’t need it or cannot afford it anyway. The decision by Florida’s GOP-led legislature not to expand Medicaid, to protect state taxpayers from having to pay a portion of those costs in later years, left about 800,000 residents unable to qualify for that program’s  coverage. At the same, many don’t qualify for government help on the ACA marketplace because the subsidy plan tied to income levels assumed states would expand Medicaid.

The Congressional Budget Office projected 23 million fewer people would have health coverage in 2026 under the House bill compared to leaving current law intact. Younger, healthier and higher-income people could see their health costs fall over time, partly through tax credits, but older, sicker and lower-income people stand to pay more as they lose subsidies or insurers are allowed to charge them more, CBO found.  People with pre-existing conditions could face “extremely high costs” in states allowed to waive Obamacare rules and put them in, for example, high-risk pools, the report said.

The Senate plan provides more subsidies to low-income people compared to the House bill, but at a reduced level compared to Obamacare, and makes deeper long-term cuts to Medicaid. Supporters say it protects people with pre-existing conditions, though advocacy group Consumers Union warned it could let insurers put annual and lifetime caps on benefits, posing a threat to people with illnesses that are costly to treat.

CBO expects to post its analysis of the Senate bill early this week on its website.

Though several GOP senators have said they can’t support it without changes, Senate leaders have said they hope to see the plan come to a vote as early as this week.

Obamacare’s subsidies tied to income mean that about nine out of 10 of the roughly 1.5 million Floridians buying ACA marketplace plans pay an average premium of about $84 month. Because the subsidies rise with rate increases, that cost is not likely to change very much for them even though six insurers filed for a rate increase averaging about 17 percent for ACA market plans in Florida in 2018. Customers without subsidies feel the full impact.

Scott said he is going to Washington this week on a  schedule whose details will be announced later.

“I would like to thank Sen. Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans for working to eliminate the high taxes, fees and unreasonable mandates of Obamacare,” Scott said. “I also want to thank President Trump for his commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare. I have been carefully reviewing the bill and next week, I will be traveling to Washington to meet with Congressional leaders to provide input on how we can make the bill better for Floridians.”

He highlighted some points he plans to make.

“First, all states must be treated equitably,” Scott said. “Florida taxpayers deserve the same treatment as every other state under the Medicaid program. Second, every American, including those with pre-existing conditions, should have the ability to buy any kind of insurance they want. This will drive down costs and give people the flexibility and power to determine what they want to buy.”

 

2 million Floridians to hit the road this Memorial Day

Better wrap up your plans and plan to head out early: More than 2 million Floridians — roughly 10 percent of the state’s population — are expected to travel this Memorial Day weekend.

AAA said Wednesday that projection is the highest in 12 years for Florida. And coupled with a record tourism pace in the Sunshine State, 31 million visitors in just the first quarter, it would represent a massive movement of population in a short period of time.

So, expect crowded highways, airports and beaches. But it’s also good news for Florida’s tourism economy, which is on a torrid pace to exceed 120 million visitors in 2017.

Across the country, lots of other people will also be on the move for what is the traditional start to the summer vacation season.

Low gas prices plus a long-weekend equals an estimated 39.3 million Americans traveling this Memorial Day weekend, AAA also estimated.

The automotive and travel group’s projection would mean equate to to 1 million more Americans traveling than during Memorial Day 2016.

“The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” said Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “So far in 2017, travel bookings with AAA in Florida are up 17 percent, compared to the same period last year. Higher confidence, rising wages, and recent gas price declines have bolstered consumer spending, leaving many Americans with more money to spend on travel this Memorial Day.”

Find out where latest skimmers were detected in Palm Beach County

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said it found two gasoline pump skimmers within the last week in Palm Beach County. They were both discovered in West Palm Beach at:

  • 7-Eleven Inc., 3035 N Military Trail, West Palm Beach
  • Texaco/Sunshine #37, 2274 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach

The skimmers were found as part of a statewide sweep of gasoline stations in popular spring break destinations. In our area, inspectors probed pumps at 51 service stations, finding the two skimmers in that search.

Getting gas at the Shell station at 5980 Okeechobee Blvd in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 13, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Getting gas at the Shell station at 5980 Okeechobee Blvd in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 13, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Across Florida, state officials said they inspected 500 gasoline stations in the targeted markets, yielding a total of eight skimmers.

The state estimates that for each skimmer undetected, as many as 100 consumers can have their credit card information stolen — leading to an average of $1,000 worth of fraudulent transactions.

“From Okaloosa County to Miami-Dade County, these skimmers are being placed on gas pumps and stealing from unsuspecting residents and visitors,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “We will continue to crackdown on these devices – and the criminals responsible for them.”

Since early 2015, the department said it has detected more than 430 skimmers across the Sunshine State. The areas inspected in this sweep, the number of facilities inspected and numbers of skimmers found are as follows:

  • Panama City Beach/ Panhandle –77 facilities, 0 skimmers found
  • Orlando area – 128 facilities, 0 skimmers found
  • Clearwater / St. Pete Beach – 66 facilities, 4 skimmers found
  • One Stop, Giant BP #109, 6151 4th St N, St. Petersburg
  • One Food of Pinellas Inc. #23, 901 4th St N, St. Petersburg
  • Quick Mart of Largo, 1990 West BAY Dr., Largo (2 skimmers)
  • Ft. Myers Beach – 36 facilities, 0 skimmers found
  • Daytona Beach/ Cocoa Beach/ Flagler Beach/ New Smyrna Beach – 75 facilities, 1 skimmer found
  • Sunoco Food Mart, 5625 N Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach
  • West Palm Beach – 51 facilities, 2 skimmers found
  • Mobil/7-Eleven Inc., 3035 N Military Trail, West Palm Beach
  • Texaco/Sunshine #37, 2274 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach
  • Ft. Lauderdale – 25 facilities, 1 skimmer found
  • Valero, 1 N Federal Hwy, Pompano Beach
  • Miami – 21 facilities, 0 skimmers found

 

State officials issued these steps they say consumers should follow to protect themselves:

  • Pay in cash inside the store to ensure the credit card information stays safe.
  • Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Many stations are now putting a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it has not been opened by unauthorized individuals.
  • Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmers at the gas pumps farther away from the store so they are not noticed as quickly.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
  • If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of a debit card. That way, the PIN number is safe.
  • Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.
  • Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to authorities and their credit card company.

 

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.

What’s the fastest growing consumer complaint?

Complaints about phony IRS agents and other imposter scams, tax ID theft and energy services were the top three fastest-growing complaints last year, according to a report released Wednesday.

When you answer the phone, how can you be sure the caller is telling you who they really are? (Getty Images)
When you answer the phone, how can you be sure the caller is telling you who they really are? (Getty Images)

Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at the Consumer Federation of America, said, “Scammers are always changing their pitches and looking for things that work. The IRS phony agent obviously works. It scares the heck out of people.”

The Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators report is based on input from 33 consumer agencies from 21 states, including the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

To read the full report, which provides additional suggestions for new laws as well as descriptions of agencies’ biggest achievements and challenges and tips for how consumers can protect themselves, click here.

Grant said imposter scams of all kinds have really taken off in the last year. She theorizes that a lot of people are behind on paying their taxes and don’t realize that the IRS does not call people asking them to send money.

“There is an alarming trend. It has gotten to the point that if someone is saying they are from a government agency, or your utility, or it’s your boss, you really don’t know whether in fact that is true. You need to be skeptical and check directly with whom they purport to represent before you send any money or give information,” Grant said.

In a new type of imposter scam, crooks infiltrate companies’ or organizations’ email systems and send messages purporting to be from the CEOs to employees with urgent instructions to wire money somewhere.

Tax and wage-related fraud were the most common forms of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission last year, so it’s no surprise that tax ID theft was one of the fastest-growing complaints to state and local consumer agencies, the report says.

Aggressive sales tactics for solar power and electricity seem to be at the root of energy services comlais.

“Consumers are misled about the potential savings, locked into long-term contracts, and in some cases, discover that their service has been switched to another complaint without their consent,” the report states.

The top 10 complaints received last year by agencies participating in the CFA survey were automotive, home improvement/construction, utilities, credit/debt, retail sales, services, landlord/tenant, household goods, health products/services and Internet sales.

 

More than 40 percent of retailers are not chip-card ready, survey says

Here's what a chip card looks like. More than 40 percent of people say they don't have one or don't know if they have one.
Here’s what a chip card looks like. More than 40 percent of people say they don’t have one or don’t know if they have one.

To swipe or not to swipe?

Every day consumers encounter smart-chip credit card terminals that aren’t activated, despite the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline Visa  and MasterCard set for the transition away from magnetic-stripe card security.

Usually, store employees tell the shopper whether to insert their card with the shiny computer chip or to swipe it the old-fashioned way.

Consumers are encountering a mixed-bag of options because a surprising 42 percent of retailers have not updated the terminals at any of their stores to enable  “chip and PIN” or “chip and signature” technology, according to a  CardHub survey released Monday.

CardHub conducted a nationally representative survey of 55 major retailers and 1,000 individuals about what’s known as EMV technology. Named after its original developers (Europay, MasterCard and Visa), the technology features cards with embedded microprocessor chips designed to store and protect cardholder data.

CardHub says the retailer response is problematic considering merchants that have not implement the new system are liable for fradulent purchases made in their stores.  The roughly $8 billion in fraudulent purchases made in the U.S. each year certainly represents a “mountain of risk for resistant retailers,” CardHub says.

What do consumers think? The survey found that 56 percent of people don’t care if a retailer’s payment terminal is chip-enabled, and 62 percent don’t understand the difference between the two security standards.

Even worse, 41 percent of people say they don’t have, or don’t know if they have, a smart-chip credit card.

Sadly, 41 percent of people falsely believe debit cards  protect them from fraud better than credit cards.

Among the retailers surveyed whose stores are 100 percent EMV compliant are  WalMart,  Target, Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS, Best Buy, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Dollar General, Gap, Nordstrom, Trader Joe’s and Michael’s.

At the other end of the spectrum with 0 percent of their stores EMV-compliant as of this month are Publix, Pizza Hut, Whole Foods Market, J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven, Bed Bath & Beyond, Ace Hardware, Family Dollar, Wendy’s Staples, Burger King and Neiman Marcus.

To read the survey, go to cardhub.com/edu/emv-adoption-survey/

 

 

Winn-Dixie announces prices cuts on more than 400 popular items

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Winn-Dixie is cutting the cost of living for customers ─ by dropping the prices on hundreds of groceries the customers buy most. The grocery chain’s newly launched ‘Down Down’ pricing program is based on a commitment to lower prices by bringing prices down and keeping them down.

“We know that almost one in five people in the Southeast are relying on food subsidies to feed their families every week. It is therefore not surprising that our customer surveys report that ‘affordable prices’ is the most important requirement from a grocery store,” said Ian McLeod, President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers ─ home of Winn-Dixie.

“We are committed to build a deeper sense of trust with our customers, and unveiling the long-term Down Down pricing campaign is a demonstration of just how serious we are about giving our customers lower prices.”

Down Down follows the company’s recent launch of New Regular Pricing, which reduced the prices of favorite grocery items. The Down Down program will apply even deeper discounts on over 400 frequently purchased items. That will be on top of more than 3,000 New Regular Prices already lowered.

“Savings are so significant that a family shopping at Winn-Dixie will now save over $700 this year as a result of these lower prices. This is a meaningful difference for any household budget,” said Ian McLeod.

From today, Winn-Dixie is dropping prices by up to 50 percent on over 400 commonly purchased products, including bread, chicken, fresh produce, dairy, meat, dry, frozen and home goods.

WINN-DIXIE

  • Sanderson Farms Whole Chicken was $1.49/lb, now $1.00/lb
    • Reduction: 33 percent
  • Sanderson Farms Chicken Breast was $4.00/lb, now $2.50/lb
    • Reduction: 38 percent
  • Winn-Dixie Sliced White/Wheat Bread (1 loaf) was $1.99, now $1
    • Reduction: 50 percent
  • Winn-Dixe Granulated Sugar (4lb) was $2.35, now $2 
    • Reduction: 15 percent
  • Winn-Dixie Shredded Sharp Cheddar (8oz) was $3.59, now $2.50 
    • Reduction: 30 percent
  • Winn-Dixie Crinkle Cut French Fries (8oz) was $2.99, now $2.00
    • Reduction: 33 percent

Winn-Dixie customers can easily pinpoint the many deeply discounted items by looking for the Big Red (helping) Hand throughout the store and be reassured this price will not change for at least six months.

Gas prices lowest in six years, continue to drop, state average $1.99

Gasoline prices are dropping as oil prices slump.
Gasoline prices are falling.

The average for a gallon of regular gasoline in Palm Beach County dropped another 2 cents Monday to $2.15, and could go even lower over the next few weeks.

Florida motorists are finding the lowest gas prices in six years, AAA said.  On Saturday, Florida’s average price for a gallon of gasoline fell below $2 for the first time since March 22, 2009. Monday, the Florida average stood at $1.99.

Bargain hunters could find gasoline as low  as $1.89 a gallon Monday in Palm Beach County, according to Gas Buddy.com.

Murphy USA, at 1050 N. Military Trail north of Belvedere Road in  suburban West Palm Beach is the lowest reported at $1.89, but four other stations have gasoline priced at $1.90. They are Cumberland Farms, 2692 N. Military Trail at Woodstock Drive; RaceWay,  288 N. Haverhill Road at Wallis Road; Speedway, 5019 Okeechobee Blvd. at N. Haverhill Road and Texaco, 2274 Okeechobee Blvd. at Congress Avenue.

Based on typical seasonal trends, the national average price of gas could remain relatively flat, or drop another 10 cents per gallon over the next few weeks, AAA said.

But by late winter, the national average could rise 50 cents per gallon or more as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance in advance of the busy summer driving season. Despite the likelihood of higher prices by spring, AAA does not expect the national average price of gas to rise above $3 per gallon in 2016.

Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst, said Monday, “Talk about starting the New Year off right. The national average at $1.99 is a great way to begin 2016, and over twenty cents lower than where we started 2015. The good news is that we could see even more price drops before the seasonal lift that will likely begin as we push towards Spring.

“The fundamentals of oil remain weak which will contribute to low oil prices for some time, while gasoline demand will likely move lower now with the holidays behind us, putting downward pressure on gasoline prices,” DeHaan said.

Gas prices are likely to remain relatively low in 2016. AAA estimates the annual average price of gas in 2016 is likely to end up between $2.25 and $2.45 per gallon, which would be cheaper or at least comparable to this year’s average of $2.40 per gallon.

“Motorists enjoyed some of the cheapest gas prices in years thanks to a global glut in oil supplies which helped keep the price of oil and gasoline production costs low,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Gas prices remained at their lowest level for the year-end holidays since the 2008-09 holiday season. Increased demand from holiday travelers temporarily froze prices in place, but gas could get even cheaper in January as demand tapers off.”

Energy prices are forecast to remain low next year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA projects the price of WTI oil to average $50.89 next year ($49.08 in 2015), and a gallon of gasoline to average $2.36 – 7 cents lower than last year’s average. According to EIA data, gasoline will average $2.06 in the early winter months (Jan 1-Feb 29), $2.38 in the spring (Mar 1 – May 31), $2.55 in the summer (June 1 – Aug 31), $2.38 in the fall (Sept 1 – Nov 30), and $2.24 for the month of December.

There is significant uncertainty over the potential cost of crude oil in 2016, though most analysts expect the market will remain oversupplied throughout the year, AAA said. There currently is a glut of crude oil around the world that has grown faster than demand, and that situation is unlikely to change significantly as Iranian oil enters the marketplace and because the global economy is growing at a relatively weak pace.

Gas prices could rise higher than expected if there are significant changes in the oil markets. Some analysts have predicted that low prices will significantly limit oil production in the United States and in other higher-cost production countries, which could allow supply and demand to re-balance by the end of 2016. Alternatively, it also is possible that political events and conflict could unexpectedly disrupt oil production. Either of these possibilities could lead to higher than predicted oil and gasoline prices for Americans.

 

 

Making a last-minute donation in 2015? These 4 tips can help

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Hoping to make a last-minute donation before the end of the year so you can include it on your 2015 tax return? Consumer Reports has some tips that could help.

• Mailing a check to a charity? You can count it toward your 2015 tax return as long as the postage date on the envelope is before the end of the year. To make sure you have proof, don’t just drop your donation in the mailbox — send it certified or registered mail, Consumer Reports advises.

• If you send your check via a service like UPS or FedEx, you may have missed your chance: You need to verify the charity received your donation before the end of the year. Consumer Reports recommends asking the charity for a confirmation email that your donation is received before the end of 2015.

• For those who want to donate via credit card, as long as the donation shows up on your December credit card statement, you’ll be in good shape.

• Occasionally, charities will allow people to donate via text message. In that case, the proof you need is your cellphone bill, Consumer Reports says. The charge should display on your phone bill before Jan. 1.

Read more at on the Consumer Reports website.

Low gas prices could spur some consumers to spend more in stores

Some consumers say they will spend more in stores because gas prices are low.
Some consumers say they will spend more in stores because gas prices are low.

Two in three gasoline customers report that gas prices in their area are lower than they were last month, and the continued drop in prices could spur last-minute shopping at stores over the holiday season, according to the latest Consumer Fuels Survey results released by the National Association of Convenience Stores.

More than one in four consumers — 27 percent — say that they will increase their spending this month, an increase from the 24 percent who said so a year ago in December 2014, the survey found.

Two in five (40 percent) of  Millennials, people age 18 to 34,  say that they will increase their spending this month, an increase from 33 percent in December 2014.

Younger consumers also will be driving more: 39 percent say they will be driving more this month than last month, significantly higher than the 22% of Americans overall who expect to drive more this month.

Nationally, consumers report a median gas price of $2, 20 cents lower than last month and 70 cents lower than they were in December 2014.

Looking forward, consumers continue to grow more confident that gas prices will stay low over the next month. Only one in three fuel consumers  say that they expect prices to be higher in thirty days, the lowest number that have predicted increased prices since January.

“The rise or fall of gas prices is one of the best predictors of overall economic optimism — 71 percent of Americans said gas prices affect their feelings about the economy — but the link has been much weaker the past few months,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. “The current political climate may play a role — the last time we saw a similarly weak link was in October 2013 with the federal government shutdown.”

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80 percent of the gas sold in the country, conducts the monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The NACS survey was conducted online by Penn Schoen Berland; 1,104 gas consumers nationally were surveyed December 8-11, 2015. Summary results are available at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

Poll: Traveling this summer? Why you need to check your passport

Want to go relax on a beach in Greece this summer? Be sure to check your passport expiration date first. (Getty Images)
Want to go relax on a beach in Greece this summer? Be sure to check your passport expiration date first. (Getty Images)

Summer is a peak time for travel, and as you’re getting ready to hit the road, you may want to double check the expiration date on your passport.

Why? Some countries require your passport to be valid for at least another six months. So if your passport is set to expire, say, 25 days after your scheduled return date, you may want to check this website to see if you need to renew before boarding your plane.

Take our poll: Are you heading to any of these popular destinations this summer? Then scroll down to see passport validation requirements. You can search on this site for other countries not listed here.

Passport validation requirements for popular destinations, according to the U.S. Department of State

The Caribbean: Bahamas (valid at time of entry); Cuba (valid at time of entry); Haiti (valid at time of entry); Dominican Republic (valid at time of entry); Turks and Caicos (valid at time of entry and for duration of stay); Jamaica (valid at time of entry)

Mexico: Six months minimum validity required for entry

Canada: Valid at time of entry

The Mediterranean: Italy (valid for at least three months beyond planned departure date; six months recommended); Greece (valid for at least three months beyond planned departure date); Turkey (recommended eight months beyond date of entry); Israel (six months); Egypt (valid at time of entry)

Europe: Spain (valid for at least three months beyond planned departure date); France (valid a minimum six months at entry and for additional three months beyond planned departure date); Switzerland (valid for at least three months beyond planned departure date); Germany (valid for at least three months beyond planned departure date and contain at least two blank pages); United Kingdom (valid for duration of stay); Ireland (valid at time of entry; six months recommended)

Asia: China (six months); Japan (valid for duration of stay); Thailand (valid six months from date of entry)