Pensioners make 20,000 calls to Revenue over weekend
UP TO 20,000 calls from concerned pensioners have been received by the Revenue Commissioners since help lines on their potential tax liabilities were established last Friday.
Letters from the Revenue were sent to 150,000 pensioners last week about their tax compliance, with 115,000 being told they will have to pay extra tax this year.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton admitted the move by the Revenue Commissioners to send letters to pensioners last week had created confusion.
Pensions Ombudsman Paul Kenny has said it was 'disturbing' that people who were not liable for any extra tax on pension income had received letters about the issue.
Senior Revenue officials are expected to be questioned at an Oireachtas Committee this week about their handling of the issue.
Declan Rigney of the Revenue Commissioners said on Morning Ireland today that they will need to review their communications strategy in light of the fallout from the letters.
A total of 12,000 calls were received on Saturday and 8,000 calls were logged last Friday when the help lines opened.
Senior figures from the Revenue Commissioners will be asked to appear before an Oireachtas Committee later this week to explain why letters were sent to pensioners who have no tax liability.
The Oireachtas committee on finance meets on Wednesday and TDs and Senators are expected to seek answers on the handling of the matter from Revenue Commissioners chairperson Josephine Feehily and officials from the Department of Social Protection.
A row has broken out over whether the Government knew in advance that pensioners would be targeted in this manner.
Helplines for people concerned about their tax re-opened at 9.15am today.
The number for callers in Dublin City and County is 1890-333425.
People in Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath can call 1890-777425.
The number for people in Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick is 1890-222425.
Residents of Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Meath, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow can call 1890-444425.