Sinn Féin Education spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said that the Government must ensure that Teachers and other Educational professionals, among countless low and middle income earners, must not be the subject of an effective Tax Hike, through the removal of flat-rate expenses.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire was speaking as concern grows among many teachers and other education professionals as to whether some of their classroom expenditure is deemed to be a professional expense.
The Cork South Central TD said:
“In the Budget 2018 Sinn Féin successfully put pressure on the Government to defer any abolition of the flat rate expenses scheme for tens of thousands of ordinary low and middle income earners.
“This decision deferred what would have effectively been a tax hike for workers such from Nurses, Brick Layers and Bus Drivers, and to Teachers and Educational Professionals.
“However, the Government did not rule out the idea altogether, putting it to a Revenue Commission review, which is due to report in the coming weeks.
“There is growing concern among teachers, principals, lecturers, Guidance Counsellors and others, at the effect that this will have on them. For example, full time teachers will be down €518 per annum.
“Most teachers pay for legitimate educational expenses such as stationary, art supplies, and so on out of their own pocket. The flat rate expenses regime is intended to reflect that fact. Getting rid of this would be an extraordinary statement of a lack of goodwill to teachers.
“It would also be a tax hike, and a substantial hit to their income. This at a time that the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil Government are talking about, and delivering, tax cuts and reliefs for the very highest earners.
“The Government has kicked this to touch in the past, instead of simply dumping the idea. Fianna Fáil may be talking about this now, however, they had ample warning from last year, when Sinn Féin & the Trade Unions led the charge on it, and it was entirely open to them to make this an issue during budget negotiations.
“We believe that implementing such a tax hike would be disrespectful to teachers who are plainly already paying for items from their own pocket, and would be an unwarranted hit to their incomes, as well to tens of thousands of workers in other sectors. Such as approach as this is not reflected in the treatment of higher earners.
“The Government need to drop this idea, and to prevent this tax hike for low and middle income earners.”