Clarity needed on extension to ‘double tax’ waiver, says Cross Border Workers Coalition as Minister Donohoe updates Dáil during Finance Bill debate

The Cross Border Workers Coalition has welcomed confirmation from Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe TD that an extension to the ‘double tax’ waiver facing ROI cross-border workers will be brought forward by his department. Minister Donohoe, who confirmed the measure in the Oireachtas this week, was responding to an amendment tabled by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty TD.

Outdated Irish tax rules mean that Republic of Ireland based cross-border workers can incur an additional tax liability if they work remotely. While a waiver has been in place since March 2020, this Covid-19 support was set to end on January 1, 2022 which would have seen thousands of cross-border workers incurring a financial penalty by working from home.

With the Irish Government now advising employees to work-from-home over Winter, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe TD has announced that the temporary Covid-19 waiver will be extended “for the period of time in 2022 during which the public health advice recommends everyone should work from home unless it is necessary to attend the workplace in person.”

Speaking following the Minister’s announcement in Dáil Éireann this week, Coalition Co-Chairs, Aidan O’Kane and Paul Quinn, have said that while this timely step is to be welcomed, the lack of a specific timeframe is concerning and could pose significant problems to border businesses and their employees. The Coalition have stated that now is the perfect time to introduce permanent, pragmatic reform to current rules.

Aidan O’Kane, Co-Chair of the Cross Border Workers Coalition, said:

“This pragmatic step from the Finance Minister will be welcomed by border employers, communities, families, and workers across this island. With weeks until the current waiver ends, this extension will ensure that ROI cross-border workers will not face a financial penalty by acting in line with public health advice and working remotely.”

“However, the Minister’s announcement raises more questions than answers, and clarity is desperately needed. If this waiver is only in place until public health advice changes, cross-border workers face the possibility of being effectively denied the opportunity to work-from-home overnight. The lack of a specific timeframe is very concerning, and would be simply unworkable for the businesses and employees we represent.”

“To avoid any major disruption to cross-border workers and their families, it is imperative that the temporary waiver on Trans Border Workers Relief is extended for the 2022 Tax Year at the very least. We look forward to receiving further guidance from Minister Donohoe and Revenue Commissioners in due course.”

Paul Quinn, Co-Chair of the Cross Border Workers Coalition, said:

“This move from Finance Minister Donohoe, while welcome, is a symptom of the reactionary approach that his been operated by the Irish Government. Despite meeting with Minister Donohoe to present our proposals for legislative change, his disregard for our asks has led us to where we are today. Extending the waiver, kicking the can down the road, will only achieve so much.”

“In his remarks, Minister Donohoe acknowledged that current Trans Border Workers Relief legislation was not “designed to apply to remote working scenarios”. We agree that current legislation is outdated and does not reflect the modern working practises operated by employees across this island.”

“The temporary Covid-19 waiver cannot be extended indefinitely. Now is the perfect time to resolve this issue, and for Finance Minister Donohoe to introduce permanent, pragmatic reform as a matter of urgency.”