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Government decision to retrospectively tax PUP for the 20 weeks it was exempt from tax costs workers up to €1400 - Pearse Doherty TD

15 January, 2021 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Pearse DohertySinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has described it as regrettable and unnecessary that the government chose to retrospectively tax the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for the 20-week period that it was an Urgent Needs Payment, and therefore not subject to tax by law.

Teachta Doherty said this decision has led to workers receiving tax bills today as much as €1,400 higher than they would otherwise have been.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“Today over 200,000 taxpayer units received tax bills for the Pandemic Unemployment Payments they received in 2020.

“This will be unwelcome news at an already difficult time where people are struggling.

“An unprecedented decision by government last year has resulted in many of these taxpayers receiving tax bills as much as €1,400 higher than they should have been.

“The Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced as an Urgent Needs Payment under Section 2020 of the Social Welfare Act.

“Under Section 126 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, these Urgent Needs Payments are explicitly exempt from income tax.

“This was the case for 20 weeks until the PUP put on a statutory footing on August 5th.

“In the Finance Act, which passed in December, the government decided to change the law and have it apply back in time, so that the PUP would be subject to tax for those 20 weeks.

“This is despite the law at that time making it exempt from tax during that period.

“For many today, this will have made their tax bill as much as €1,400 higher than it would otherwise have been.

“That is regrettable and totally unnecessary, especially during such a difficult time.”

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