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PUP recipients would face tax bills of up to €1,470; Sinn Féin strongly criticises government policy

DUBLIN: Sinn Féin strongly criticised the government’s policy of taxing recipients of Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman, said people would face bills of up to €1,470 after the decision to retrospectively tax the support which was introduced in March.

Mr. Doherty said that, as someone who has been dealing with finance bills for 10 years, there has never been a situation in which payments made which were excluded from tax under the law are now taxable. He asks why a principle enshrined in tax law around the world should be violated.

This comes after the Oriachos Finance Committee, where Mr. Doherty sits, voted through a section of the Finance Bill that pandemic unemployment payments are subject to income tax.

“The government decided for the first time ever that they are going to rewind back the clock and tax a payment,” Mr. Doherty said. “You do not go back and take a tax a payment that was paid,” he added.

At the same time, he agreed that the payment would be taxable from August, when the PUP legal base was established. But he said that it was not subject to tax before then.

“The legal position is that from the 13th of March up until August this payment was an urgent needs payment. The Finance Bill of 2018 makes it clear that urgent needs payments are not taxable. The government can’t have it both ways,” the Sinn Féin’s finance spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe had made it clear that it was always the Government’s intention that those on the PUP would pay income tax but not PRSI or USC.

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