People will now be faced with bills of up to €1,470 after it was decided to retrospectively tax the support which was introduced in March, Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman Pearse Doherty has said.
“Never have I, as somebody who’s been dealing with Finance Bills for 10 years, seen a situation where there is retrospective taxation where you go back in time and actually say payments that were paid out, which were tax exempt under the law, are now taxable.
“The question is is why would you do this why would you actually breach a principle that is enshrined in tax law right throughout the world?” Mr Doherty asked.
It comes after the Oireachtas Finance Committee, which Mr Doherty sits on, voted through a section of the Finance Bill stipulating that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is subject to income tax.
Mr Doherty said: “You do not go back and take a tax a payment that was paid.
“We’ve never ever done it, we’ve never done it for the banks who exploited loopholes in our tax code, we’ve never done it with vulture funds, we’ve never done it with big accountancy firms, but the government decided for the first time ever that they are going to rewind back the clock and tax a payment.”
He agreed that the payment is taxable from August when the PUP was put on a statutory footing but said that it was not subject to tax before then.
“The legal position is that from the 13th of March up until August this payment was an urgent needs payment.
“The Finance Bill of 2018 makes it clear that urgent needs payments are not taxable. The government can’t have it both ways,” he told .
Speaking at the Finance Committee on Monday, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said it was always the Government’s intention that those on the PUP would pay income tax but not PRSI or USC.
He said that he had made this clear in the Dáil in April.