Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Mairéad Farrell TD, said it was outrageous that PhD researchers will not qualify for the new Student Renters tax credit. This arises due to the Revenue requirement for there to be taxable income in order to qualify, despite the fact that for PhD researchers their stipend, which serves as their means of income, is non-taxable.
Teachta Farrell said:
“Yesterday it was confirmed to me by the Minister through a parliamentary question that PhD researchers who are renting will not qualify for Student Renters tax credit.
“Once again PhD researchers have been left behind by this government. I cannot understand how the government did not foresee that the criteria they established would exclude them because they don’t pay tax on their stipend.”
“It’s not like this issue has not been on the agenda.”
“Minister Harris just had a very detailed independent report published on the adequacy of the current rates of the stipend. The Postgraduate Workers Organisation had made submissions to this where they had sought to be recognised as employees with relevant tax obligations. So it’s hard to see how this mistake was made?”
“Minister Harris keeps telling PhD researchers that he hears their concerns. But it seems to be a case of in one ear and out the other. PhD researchers are sick of the spin. Minister Harris needs to spend less time in the digital world and more time in the real world.
“PHD students must be treated fairly. They are under huge financial pressure and they need to see this issue addressed urgently.”