September 16, 2020
Proposed changes to flat rate expenses must be abandoned – Pearse Doherty TD

Pearse DohertySinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty has called on the government and Revenue to abandon any changes to the flat rate expenses regime.

Flat rate expenses are a form of tax relief available to workers on any expenses they incur while at work. Over 600,000 workers claimed flat rate expenses worth €48 million.

After reviews of the system by Revenue in 2018 and 2019, it was decided to implement changes to the system from January 1st 2021, with thousands of key workers facing a potential loss of income as a result.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said: “Flat rate expenses allow workers across 53 types of employment, covering 153 different allowances, to claim expenses for costs incurred in order to carry out their work. This includes essential workers and healthcare staff.

“Flat rate expenses allow these workers to recoup money they have spent on their own work uniforms, for example.

“In 2017 alone, over 606,000 workers claimed these expenses, providing them tax relief of a combined €48 million.

“Following a review of flat rate expenses, Revenue is proposing the removal of flat rate expenses for entire categories of workers.

“Among their proposals is to remove the €121 allowance from shop assistants. Based on 2017 figures, this would see over 75,000 shop assistants lose out on a combined €9 million.

“These proposals could also see flat rate expenses removed from other essential workers, such as nurses.

“The government would have moved ahead with these proposals were it not for opposition from Sinn Féin and others, with any changes now delayed until January 2021.

“Once again the income of these workers is on the block.

“The government must now abandon plans to cut the incomes of these workers and scrap any changes to the flat rate expenses regime.

“Changes to this system should not take place in the middle of a pandemic, but in through engagement with workers and their trade union representatives.

“The Minister for Finance must now give these workers certainty by confirming that he will abandon any changes to the flat rate expenses.”

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