Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe TD responds to questions from Pearse Doherty TD on Cross Border Workers taxation issues in the Dail
The leadership of the Cross Border Workers Coalition (CBWC) has welcomed the recent commitment by the Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe TD to examine the taxation issues facing cross-border workers early next year.
The Minister made this commitment in response to an amendment which was tabled at Report Stage of the Finance Bill by Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson and Donegal TD, Pearse Doherty calling on the Irish Government to prepare and lay before Dáil Éireann a report on the operation of income tax relief for cross-border workers under section 825A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.
The Cross Border Workers Coalition was set up in response to the fact that employees who live in the Republic of Ireland but work in Northern Ireland are largely prohibited from remote working and are subject to a ‘double tax’ on their income should it be determined that they have worked from home or within the Republic of Ireland.
Since early summer, the coalition has been calling on the Irish Government to urgently review the situation and to take advantage of the opportunity that has arisen during the coronavirus crisis when all companies across the island of Ireland instructed their staff to work from home as the pandemic took hold.
Despite the Irish Revenue Commissioners granting a temporary exemption for the duration of the pandemic, there is a growing realisation that a permanent solution is required to meet the new ways of working long into the future.
With the positive news about vaccines, there is a fear that this temporary exemption could end at any moment resulting in many thousands of workers having to return to the office permanently or face this additional tax liability.
Speaking in Dáil Éireann during this debate, Pearse Doherty TD called on the Minister to address the ‘rigid application of the relief’, show flexibility and to look at this issue through the prism of Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement – something which the CBWC have been focusing on.
In response, Minister Donohoe acknowledged that an issue existed and committed to meet with the CBWC soon to discuss it further.
Paul Quinn from the leadership of the Cross Border Workers Coalition said:
“This is a seminal moment in our campaign to address the out of kilter tax legislation which affects Republic of Ireland residents working across the border in Northern Ireland. After months of campaigning, we really welcome firstly the acknowledgment by the Finance Minister that this is an issue which needs addressed and the commitment to examine it as part of the tax strategy group papers.”
“We have been greatly encouraged by the support shown to the group from a range of stakeholders including politicians of all parties both in Government and in opposition. In particular, Pearse Doherty TD has been a brilliant advocate for the group, and we would like to place on record our thanks to him for his persistence in raising this issue at both Committee Stage and Report Stage of the Finance Bill.”
“This is an issue that not only affects thousands of employees but also the economic prosperity of border communities. It is right that the Irish Government should be looking at finding a pragmatic solution that will be of benefit to everyone across the island of Ireland and we will ensure the Minister follows through on the commitments made.”
“We look forward to meeting with Minister Donohoe and his officials soon to discuss this further.”