Tipp rage as taxman targets gate-men
TIPPERARY chairman Sean Nugent has lashed out after it was confirmed that the Revenue Commissioners are now targeting gate-checkers operating at the county's various match-day venues.
In a move described by Nugent as "bureaucracy gone mad", it has emerged that gate-checkers working in Tipp will now be subject to end-of-year P35 tax returns.
Nugent has slammed these latest developments and claims that GAA officials are paying the price for openness and transparency.
Nugent said: "They're after everybody in the GAA. They don't seem to be after anybody else in any other sports. Down through the decades, before any of this came up, the GAA was open and transparent regarding record-keeping and the costs associated with running matches.
"They're in the public domain and have never been hidden.
"But there are no high-earners among gate-men and referees. What they receive in expenses would hardly cover their outgoings.
"And I know that people in other sports are not experiencing the problems we are in this regard. They can pay expenses through cash on the day and keep no records. Consequently, they get no visits from Revenue, so I wonder are we paying the price for transparency through the decades in our financial transactions?"
County board treasurers throughout the country have been told to inform gate-checkers of tax requirements.
And Nugent believes that the added paperwork that needs to be processed is unnecessary.
He added: "It is now necessary for the GAA at top level to seek a review of these arrangements, to engage in discussions with Revenue and to come up with a more user-friendly system that reflects the voluntary ethos of the Association.
"Undue responsibilities and workloads should not be imposed on volunteers. In recent weeks, our county treasurer (Eamonn Buckley) and other treasurers have had a huge amount of paperwork associated with gate-men and referees.
"At the end of the day, there's really nothing in it for the Revenue. It's bureaucracy gone mad."
Another Munster county contacted revealed a payment of €20,000 to gate-checkers last year, with 20pc of that figure due to the Revenue Commissioners as part of these new arrangements.
But Nugent indicated that gate-checkers at local matches may only receive €30 for their work, and when travel and the time spent carrying out the job is taken into account, it's barely worth their while.
And he confirmed that a number of local gate-checkers have informed the county treasurer that they will not be taking up the role again this year.
Nugent added: "We've been asked for P35s for all of these gate-men but that's nearly an accountant's work.
"Gate-checkers have been asked to provide PPS numbers, and while we don't mind complying with Revenue, as I see it now, people won't take up the jobs. We see them as volunteers and our treasurer has been told that they won't be doing the job again because there's nothing in it for them and in some cases now, they could be at a loss.
"If you're travelling for 30 miles and you're getting €30 and away for two to three hours, that's not much recompense."
Nugent estimates that there are 50-60 gate-checkers in Tipperary and while clearly frustrated by the Revenue Commissioners and their pursuit of these individuals, he acknowledged: "Tipperary County Board's intention at all times is to comply with the laws of the land and the regulations laid down by Revenue.
"But the workload being inflicted on voluntary people to comply with ridiculous bureaucracy such as this is a disgrace. If there was a pot of gold for Revenue, we could understand this but it's only a paltry few euro.
"And we've seen how this has the potential to disrupt the Association and cost us valuable volunteers.
"Little consideration is being given to the value that the GAA is contributing to society in every parish in Ireland."