Monday 16 September 2019

'Extending tax relief for GAA stars raises number of issues' - minister


Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Gordon Deegan

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said that extending a tax relief scheme for sportspersons here to GAA players "would raise a number of issues and challenges".

In a written Dáil reply, Mr Donohoe made his remark after revealing that the current tax relief scheme for sports stars cost the State €2.4m between 2008 and 2017.

In the reply to Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry, Mr Donohoe revealed that during that period 323 sportspeople claimed tax relief.

The scheme allows them to claim tax relief on earnings that derive directly from participation in their sport, such as prize money and performance fees, but not other earnings such as sponsorship fees and income from advertisements or endorsements.

Those to avail of the scheme include rugby players, golfers, jockeys, cyclists, swimmers, boxers and athletes. Asked by Mr MacSharry whether he had considered extending the scheme to GAA players, Mr Donohoe said that an "extension of the tax relief to Gaelic games players would raise a number of issues and challenges".

Mr Donohoe added: "Given the amateur status of the players, income from sources not related to the playing of Gaelic games might need to be taken into account.

"This would have implications for the tax system that would need to be carefully examined."

Mr MacSharry said yesterday: "I would not necessarily be in favour of the inclusion of Gaelic games participants in the tax relief scheme as it blurs the lines of the amateur ethos which we all support within Gaelic games."

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However, he added that adequate support needed to be put in place for participants in Gaelic games, particularly those who played the sports at the highest level. 

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