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Policy issues concerning Taxation

Social Justice Ireland regrets that to date Government has not committed to supporting European moves to introduce a Financial Transactions Tax. The tax offers the dual benefit of dampening needless and often reckless financial speculation and generating significant funds. Reports have estimated a net revenue yield of between €320m and €350m per annum in Ireland alone, while according to the United Nations, the amount of annual income raised would be enough to guarantee to every citizen of the world basic access to water, food, shelter, health and education. This tax has the potential to wipe out the worst forms of material poverty throughout the world.

Tax reliefs/expenditures represent revenue to the government that is being foregone. In 2016 tax reliefs amounted to approximately 10 per cent of total tax revenue - a very significant sum. However, unlike direct government expenditure, tax reliefs are not subject to annual assessment as part of the budgetary process. Social Justice Ireland considers it extraordinary that this is the case given the significant cost, and calls for reform of the process.

Among the key findings from the National Social Monitor - European Edition are that quality of housing, the burden of housing costs, financial distress, difficulty in making ends meet and the environment are key issues in Ireland and across the European Union.  As we face into European Elections in May these issues are certain to feature strongly.

700,000 on healthcare waiting lists, 500,000 homes without broadband, over 11,000 people homeless – a result of Government policy failing to tackle causes - Social Justice Ireland publishes National Social Monitor Winter 2018.

Budget 2019 marks the third Budget of the current Government. We track the cumulative impact of changes to income taxation and welfare over the Government’s three Budgets.

The distributive effects of an alternative Budget 2019 Income Tax Package.

Some of Ireland's richest have a taxable income of less than the average industrial wage, with many paying income tax at a lower rate than the average taxpayer. What can government do in Budget 2019 to counter this highly unfair situation?

With 800,000 people in poverty, record numbers on healthcare waiting lists and more than 3,800 children homeless, Ireland is a profoundly unequal place. Inequality hurts the economy, leading to unstable economic growth and employment, higher debt, housing bubbles and increased homelessness. Substantial evidence has emerged in recent years to support the view that economies and societies perform better across a number of different metrics, from better health to lower crime rates, where there is less inequality.

Just two of the income taxation proposals currently under consideration for Budget 2019 would produce fair outcomes: an increase in the personal tax credit for everyone or a reduction in the 0.5% and 2% USC rates. The impact of most income tax proposals currently being considered by government would give far greater benefit to people earning higher incomes than to lower income employees.

A low tax-take is not justified in a wealthy society. With new all-time highs in household wealth levels, government should take the opportunity to raise the resources needed to build a fair and just society.

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