Monday 21 October 2019

Charlie Weston on Budget 2020: 'Who would feel like getting up early after that?'

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Charlie Weston

KEEP getting up early and keep those income taxes rolling, lads and lassies, was essentially the message from Paschal.

There was little for ordinary families, if you exclude the few "Smarties" that were thrown from the top table. Those who pay for everything will just have to keep paying for everything.

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One wag summed up the Budget on Twitter by commenting: "I don't feel like getting up early tomorrow after that."

We had been warned by Junior Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran not to expect much from the annual shindig in the Dáil. Boxer told us to expect "some Smarties" rather than a box of chocolates. Most will have been left feeling they did not even get a few sweets.

There were some gains for the self-employed, those who care for children or an elderly relative in the home.

Self-employed people will be able to earn another €150 before paying tax, while the home carer tax credit goes up by €100.

More GP cards will go to the over-70s, while families with young children will gain from changes that will save them on GP and dental care costs.

Asset-rich families, who want to pass them on to their children without paying tax, have been looked after by the Government. The main tax-free threshold for inheritance tax went up to €335,000.

This means a parent can leave a son or daughter an inheritance worth up to this amount before capital acquisitions tax at 33pc kicks in.

The so-called Group A tax-free threshold was €320,000.

The Help-to-Buy scheme has been retained as it is, despite official reports finding that a large number of those availing of it have no difficulty raising a deposit.

Medical card holders will pay less for prescriptions, while the Christmas bonus will be paid, and there is more for children for those on social welfare.

But most will end up paying more.

Smokers have been hit again, with a rise of 50c on a pack of 20 this time.

And the majority of employees will end up handing more of their hard-earned cash to the tax authorities.

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This is because of the failure to raise the income tax bands.

Over the past few Budgets, the higher rate tax band has been increased to reduce the amount of income people pay at the higher rate.

You don't have to earn much in this country to pay the higher rate. For single people, earnings over €35,300 are liable for the 40pc rate.

Now people who get a pay rise will see more of their income taxed at the higher rate because of the failure to shelter more income from the 40pc tax rate.

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Rubbing salt into this wound is the fact that income tax, the USC and PRSI already generate three times more for the Exchequer than corporation tax. Our tax system is too dependent on income taxes.

And then there is the fact that almost a million earners pay no income tax.

But what is really getting people annoyed is the increase in the carbon tax.

Most people have no choice but to use their cars. Those who use oil or gas to heat their homes are unlikely to change their ways due to the tax hike.

Will there even be the tiniest drop in carbon emissions from the increase in the carbon tax?

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The net effect will be that it will just cost people more. Keep paying, Pixies.


Irish Independent

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