Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe has confirmed he will seek to widen the country’s tax bands and encourage aspiration among self-employed professionals in Budget 2018.
During a presentation to a private meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party this week, Mr Donohoe confirmed it would be his priority in next month’s package to deliver “steady and affordable progress to reduce high tax rates for low and middle-income earners”.
The Minister acknowledged that every cent earned middle income earners over €33,800 was subject to the 49% tax rate. By widening the tax bands, Donohoe seeks to recognise the significant contribution made by the self-employed. Donohoe also confirmed an amalgamation of the universal social charge (USC) and PRSI over time had also been mooted within Fine Gael.
Mr Donohoe continued by saying next month’s primary aim was to balance the books, whilst providing security in risky environments. The Minister was quizzed about the retention of the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector, but Donohoe was tight-lipped on tax measures, saying no decision had yet been made regarding specific sectors.
The Fine Gael parliamentary party were addressed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who began the conference in Co Tipperary ahead of the new Dail term vowing to develop a new social contract for Ireland. He said the principle should be that “everyone who can should make a contribution, and everyone should benefit in return”.
“High taxes on the middle classes are a barrier to opportunity and to work. They are a cap on aspiration, and there should be no cap on aspiration in the Republic we wish to build,” added Varadkar.
The Taoiseach went on to indicate that businesses, farmers and enterprise would continue to be the priorities for Fine Gael. They would attempt to achieve this by rewarding hard work and ensuring fair pay for the private sector and the self-employed; whilst making childcare more affordable and providing security and dignity for the elderly.