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Revenue must act on Report to help PAYE workers reclaim tax – Ó Caoláin

12 April, 2007

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Finance spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called on the Minister for Finance and the Revenue Commissioners to act on the Report of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service which has recommended action to facilitate PAYE workers to claim tax credits, allowances and reliefs which are massively under-claimed at present.

Deputy Ó Caoláin is a member of the Oireachtas Committee which issued the Report and which has called for an independent assessment of the amount of allowances, reliefs and credits unclaimed by individual taxpayers. Estimates of unclaimed tax due to taxpayers vary from €50 million to €350 million per year.

Welcoming the Report, Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:

"Many ordinary PAYE workers are not claiming back tax to which they are entitled. For example 320,000 people claimed tax relief on trade union membership fees but this is only about half the trade union membership in Ireland. Very often people are simply not aware of what they are entitled to or, if they are, they are put off by the bureaucracy of claiming what is due to them.

"Wealthy individuals and companies can hire accountants and tax experts to both avoid and reclaim tax but the vast majority of PAYE workers have to look after their own personal tax affairs and this is often a daunting task. The Report calls on the Revenue Commissioners and the Minister for Finance to provide more and clearer information, to simplify the process and to make it fairer.

"A key recommendation is for the abolition of the four-year rule which prevents taxpayers claiming tax rebates after this period. This rule does not apply to those who owe tax to the Revenue and who are, quite rightly, required to pay their fair share regardless of the lapse of time. The Revenue should be as vigorous in ensuring that people receive their entitlements as they are in pursuing non-payment or under-payment of tax.

"It is now up to the Revenue Commissioners and Finance Minister Brian Cowen to act on the recommendations of this Report." ENDS

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