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End Special Tax Deal for Top Earners

The Social Democrats have strongly criticised the Government’s proposal in the Finance Bill to extend the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) until 2020.
The SARP relief was introduced in 2012 and was due to expire at the end of 2017. It is aimed at reducing the cost to employers of so-called special “high-end” staff by providing special tax benefits to these individuals.
Latest Revenue figures (2014) indicate that the average cost of the tax break amounted to about €20,000 for every person availing of the scheme. 214 people earning over €150,000 were availing of the scheme at the last count; 72 of these were earning over €350,000.

Róisín Shortall TD said:
“There is no longer any justification for this scheme and the Social Democrats will be strongly opposing its extension during the course of the Finance Bill. If these personnel are so key to the companies concerned, then let that be reflected in their salaries. The Government  should not be subsidising very significant salaries when there are so many other priorities for tax-payer’s money.  It is simply outrageous that ordinary tax-payers are funding a scheme where people need a minimum salary of €75,000 to qualify and it applies to incomes of up to half a million euro.”

“The scheme cost €5.9 million in tax foregone in 2014. That cost has likely risen to in excess of €10 million in 2016. That money would be far better spent on helping Irish businesses find alternative markets in the context of the collapse of sterling.”

The Social Democrats have tabled an amendment to the Finance Bill opposing the extension of the scheme.