Unfair and unjustified Covid-19 tax bills must be scrapped says Nash
- Labour will put forward amendment to Finance Bill calling for the Covid-19 tax bill to be scrapped
Labour finance spokesperson, Ged Nash, has today (Saturday 15th October) strongly urged the Minister for Finance to bin Covid wage subsidy tax bills
Responding to the news that close to 300,000 workers who received the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) payments are still facing tax bills of up to €2500, Deputy Nash described the bill as unfair and unjustified.
Deputy Nash said:
“It completely unfair and simply shocking that the Government and the Revenue Commissioner are chasing relatively small sums of cash from workers hardest hit by the pandemic while companies on the EWSS got away scot-free with paying handsome dividends to high-rolling shareholders. This is especially galling in the context of the ongoing cost of living crisis.
“Government seems quick to forget that it is these very people who were the ones who lost their jobs, had their pay slashed and faced huge uncertainty through no fault of their own during the pandemic. That is why as far back as January 2021 Labour called for a scrapping of Covid-19 tax bills levied on hundreds of thousands of workers.
“It smacks of complete double standards that Revenue have ended checks on profitable businesses who paid dividends while receiving State Covid subsidies, yet they are still chasing working people for a comparatively smaller sum of money.
“In a recent parliamentary reply, the Minister for Finance and Revenue confirmed 866 companies who filed dividends had received €396 million of taxpayer assistance to pay their wage bills. Yet less than €40m has been repaid to date. This is unacceptable.
“The outstanding €356m owed by companies dwarfs the €219m collective Covid-19 tax bill being foisted on working people.
“It is also beyond ironic that workers employed by companies who claimed Covid-19 support under such circumstances are still facing an outstanding tax bill, while their employer has virtually been let off scot free.
“The collective €219m Covid tax bill levied on workers is also a comparatively small amount for the exchequer. But the same can’t be said for those workers facing tax bills of up to €2500 during the worst cost of living crisis in living memory. It’s a step too far and will plunge thousands of families into debt ahead of what will be a winter like no other.
“We have already seen from various post-budget analyses that low-paid workers are the ones who were left most short-changed by Budget 2023. The Minister for Finance now has an opportunity to rectify this and finally bin the unjustified Covid-19 tax bills.
“This not only makes ethical sense, but also sound economic sense. It is by definition and design targeted at those workers and sectors who have been most affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic and subsequent inflationary crisis. It is the right thing to do, and now is the right time to do it.
“That is why the Labour Party will again be putting forward an amendment in the upcoming Finance Bill calling for the Covid-19 tax bill to be scrapped once and for all.”