Sinn Féin has condemned the government’s Finance Bill for the year 2012, which has intentionally created a new tax loophole for highly paid workers from outside the state.
Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the “most outrageous proposal” in the Finance Bill, which is intended to implement the government’s annual budget, was the ‘Special Assignee Relief Programme’.
It allows companies to bring in highly paid individuals from outside the state and have their tax liability on earnings between €75,000 and €500,000 written off by 30%. This is the equivalent of approximately €127,500 tax free for the high end of this bracket.
Over the five years of the period this benefit is allowed, a non-Irish worker will earn up to €635,000 tax free compared to his/her Irish equivalent.
“The Minister claims that this proposal is aimed at attracting individuals into the state for the purposes of creating jobs. However there is no requirement in the legislation for those availing of this massive tax break to create a single job,” said Mr Doherty.
“When I raised this issue last week the Minister urged me to read the Bill. I have re-read the Bill and there is no requirement for a single job to be created in order to avail of this tax break.
“Worse than this the tax break could be abused by companies seeking to downsize their operations in Ireland resulting in the loss of jobs.”
Mr Doherty said the Finance Bill was generally one “that [former Finance Minister] Charlie McCreevy would be proud of, a Finance Bill that rewards the rich and punishes the vast majority of low and middle income citizens.”
“Fine Gael and Labour had a huge opportunity with this Bill to undo much of the damage done by Fianna Fail in recent years. Not only did they choose not to do this, they have made matters worse with increases on taxes and charges on low and middle income families.”