Revenue blames lobby groups over men receiving more in expenses
THE Revenue Commissioners has blamed lobby groups for the fact that women in some jobs can claim less than men in expenses for doing the same jobs.
Many workers are unaware that they are entitled to claim tax credits for expenses incurred in work. A tax credit reduces the actual amount of tax that must be paid.
There are a range of these work-related tax credits that PAYE (pay as you earn) workers can claim for certain expenses.
Teachers can claim up to €518 a year to cover expenses. A nurse can claim up to €733, while a carpenter can claim €220 to cover the cost of providing tools and replacing them for their job.
But it appears that the sexes are not equal under the tax code.
A waitress is entitled to claim less in expenses than a waiter.
This is in despite of the fact that there is no evidence that covering the cost of cleaning uniforms and replacing shoes is less expensive for woman than for men.
This year a waiter can claim €97 in flat-rate expenses, but a waitress is only entitled to €64.
Asked why women were being treated differently to men in the hotel and catering trade, a spokesperson for the Revenue blamed unions and trade bodies.
And she denied that there was anything sexist about the fact that a nurse can claim more than a fitter in expenses.
"In relation to flat rate expenses, this regime has been developed over many years following negotiations between Revenue and representative bodies of individual sectors/groups of employees e.g. trade unions, employee associations."
The tax official said the negotiations were completed to put in place a figure that broadly represents the amount of expenses incurred by a particular group of employees in the performance of their duties.
"As part of this process, representative bodies would from time to time seek revisions of the rates.
"The flat rate expense for waiters and waitresses was agreed with representatives from the hotel industry on the basis of specific costs borne by waiters and waitresses – no request has been received from such representatives to have this allowance reviewed since."
Asked about nurses and fitters, the Revenue official said the difference between the amounts allowed is due to the basis of the claims.
The Revenue has asked that this newspaper stop referring to its staff as taxmen as there are now more women than men in the tax collecting organisation.