CHANGES to the tax system are necessary to ease the burden on middle income families and changes to Universal Social Charge (USC) are worth considering, Tanaiste Joan Burton has claimed.
Ms Burton is studying the proposals made by the Irish Tax Institute this week to reduce the USC.
Lowering the charge would benefit the most people according to the body.
"The tax institute has made a very interesting submission and I'm studying it in detail," the Tanaiste told the Herald.
Changes to the tax system are needed she said, particularly as the country begins to show signs of recovery.
She said any changes must help those in the squeezed middle and those on low incomes.
"I think what we need to do is actually look at the income tax system and see what room we have in terms of offering some relief to people.
"We must then do that as well as we can so as to improve in particular the people on middle and low incomes and the position of people with children."
The Labour leader said middle and low income families are a priority in the coming months as Budget discussions get underway.
"In the program for the remainder of the government that I agreed with the Taoiseach just recently, we want to target particularly low and middle income families and people at work," she explained.
She said talks are ongoing "to actually look at how, with the modest recovery that is underway, how we share the fruits of that with people".
It has not yet been decided if child benefit will be increased or what changes will be made to income tax.
She said that in her role as Social Protection Minister, she "would like to see improvements for families, improvements for old people".
Getting people back to work is the government's goal and in order to do so the Department of Social Protection must look at ways to fill the gaps in people's CVs, the Dublin West TD said.
Ms Burton pointed out that employers are disinclined to hire people who have lapses in their CV, and it is up to her department to fill those spaces with community employment, training or more education.
When asked if her department had questions to answer to those forced to apply for unskilled jobs under the Jobs-Bridge scheme, she defended the programme.
"For some people who have never worked at all, giving them some experience can be a help," she said.
The Tanaiste was speaking after new figures emerged yesterday to show that 100,000 people had re-joined the workforce.
Unemployment levels dropped again and are now at 2009 levels.
The decrease was, she noted, "a big fall from the height of the crisis".