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Sunday 4 December 2016

Review: Know Your Rights; A Practical Guide to Living In Challenging Times' By Andrew McCann

Published by Blackhall and retails for €15

Published 31/03/2011 | 05:00

IN straitened times like these its is hugely valuable to know what you are entitled to and what you can claim.

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Put-upon PAYE workers, and those who file tax returns annually, may not be aware that they can claim for the cost of buying and laundering their uniforms, and filling a toolbox.

Take a carpenter. They can claim a tax credit of up to €90.20 a year to cover the cost of tools.

A nurse is entitled to even more for what is known as a flat-rate expense.

Set rates have been agreed between the Revenue and unions. A nurse, depending on his or her category, can claim between €32 and €300 a year. And you can back date a claim for the previous four years.

Flat-rate claims can be made by home helps, plumbers, pharamacists, teachers, bar staff, pilots and firemen, among others.

All of this and more is detailed in a new book by consumer advocate Andrew McCann, 'Know Your Rights; A Practical Guide to Living In Challenging Times' (published by Blackhall and retails for €15).

Guide

The book is an easy-to-follow guide to tax changes in the last Budget and a good outline of State supports available for those in all stages of life.

Mr McCann, who is the development manager of the Fingal Citizens' Information Service in Swords, Co Dublin, knows the tax and welfare systems inside out.

Topics covered include taxation, social welfare, illness and disability supports, redundancy and getting back to work, and rights and entitlements, including everything from civil partnership to wills and inheritance.

Using a question-and-answer format and concrete examples, 'Know Your Rights' aims to show people exactly how their pockets are affected by the austerity measures, depending on their circumstances.

Updated edition

Following on from the success of previous editions of the title over the past five years, this concise and updated edition aims to make life less complicated.

Sections of the book deal with how to work out and reduce your tax bill. The hated universal social charge is explained. Many people have been shocked to find that they have been hit by this charge. It is applied to incomes or pensions of greater than €77 a week.

Commitment

The new Government has committed to reducing its effects on the more vulnerable in society -- the low paid and the elderly -- but such is the state of the country's finances that the chances of this happening are slim.

Also well covered are topics like social welfare payments, what you are entitled to when you lose your job, and a section on debt and also one on pensions.

The book should be an invaluable guide for anyone who picks it up. Every household would benefit from getting hold of a copy of it.

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