SOCIAL Protection Minister Joan Burton brought the expert report outlining reforms to the child benefit system to Cabinet yesterday.
But no decision was taken on whether to tax child benefit or bring in a top-up payment – the two options outlined in the report.
The expert group report will be officially published today, when the chairperson of the group, senior civil servant Ita Mangan, will outline its details.
The expert group puts the taxing of child benefit on the table for the first time, which would save up to €345m.
The report, obtained by the Irish Independent, says child benefit should remain a universal payment and leaves the Government with two options – taxation of the benefit or a two-tier payment with a top-up for families on low incomes.
The taxation of child benefit would hit the parents of 70pc of all the 1.1 million children in the country. Some 400,000 families would face being taxed on their child benefit.
Four out of 10 parents would lose out under a two-tier child benefit system, as they would only receive a reduced child payment. Whichever model is taken would see middle-income families being walloped. The report was drawn up before the Coalition cut child benefit from €140 to €130 in the Budget.