Saturday 10 December 2016

Revenue must tread softly

Published 07/01/2012 | 05:00

As the controversy generated by the Revenue Commissioners' decision to force up to 115,000 pensioners to pay more tax enters its third day, the parallels with the previous government's October 2008 decision to withdraw medical cards for over-70s are uncanny.

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First things first. There is no doubt that many pensioners who were receiving an occupational pension from their former employer as well as the contributory state pension should have been paying tax on their occupational pensions.

However, that they did not was at least partially due to the failings of two government departments, the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Protection, whose computer systems were unable to communicate with one another until recently. If these two departments had been doing their jobs properly then this unfortunate situation would never have occurred in the first place.

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