The Revenue Commissioners is to write to all taxpayers that have not claimed any tax relief in the last four years.
The correspondence aims to draw people’s attention to the reliefs that are available to them, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe told an Oireachtas Finance Committee on Wednesday.
The measure received a lukewarm welcome by Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty, who said that it narrows down the number of taxpayers that will be contacted, adding that many people may have claimed for certain reliefs, but may not be aware of others.
“The Revenue sends out information regularly and some of it is missed,” Deputy Doherty said.
The Donegal TD added that there was a need to examine a consumer friendlier way of highlighting reliefs that are available such as reliefs on medical expenses.
Deputy Doherty also called for the tapering out of tax credits for those on higher incomes.
“There are 10,000 people who earn an average of over €500,000 each, it is not appropriate to subsidise their high income tax. They should not be getting a tax break above €3,300, it’s unjustifiable,” he said.
In response to this Minister Donohoe said that such a move would have a negative impact on tax.
“I believe we have highly effective tax rates available already, and if we take the effective tax rate even higher for people on certain levels of income it will affect decisions made in the economy,” Minister Donohoe said.
“There are a certain group which earn more, they pay more tax and should pay more tax,” he added.
He added that the 1pc of the top earners in the country pay 22pc of total income tax and USC in the State.
“This ensures those at the top are paying what they need to pay and making their contribution to the social contract.”
The Minister added that the proposed amendment by Deputy Doherty would have other effects that were not in the interest of economy or public services.
Minister Donohoe also outlined plans to increase the income tax credit for people who are self-employed in the budget next year in order to bring it into line with tax credits currently offered to people privately employed.
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