Cohabiting couples should be entitled to the same tax treatment as those who are married or in civil partnerships, the Government has been told.
A newly published Department of Finance tax strategy paper suggests cohabiting couples should be entitled to the tax credit available to those who are married.
The document says fewer people are getting married and notes the make-up of the traditional family has significantly changed since the tax incentive was first introduced.
"Due to changes in societal norms in Ireland, for example, non-traditional family structures becoming more common and a slightly decreasing trend in marriage rates it is worth considering the issues around extending the tax treatment currently only available to married couples to cohabiting couples," it says.
However, the paper raises concerns about how cohabiting couples would be able to prove their status to avail of the same tax treatment as those who are married
"Married couples and civil partners have an independent, verifiable and legally binding confirmation of their marital status, including the dates of commencement and cessation of same," it says.
"In order to administer a credit for cohabiting couples, Revenue would require a similar standard of verification of their status," it adds.
The documents says a self-certification system for cohabiting couples could become a "gateway to a number of generous tax reliefs" such as Home Carer Tax Credit.
"It would be difficult, intrusive and time-consuming if Revenue were expected to confirm declarations by individuals that they were actually cohabiting," it adds.
Married couples and civil partners are charged income tax on their combined income.