Thursday, 22 March 2012
Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages
Darragh O'Brien (Fianna Fail)
I thank the Minister for his response to our recommendation, which is somewhat similar to what the Chancellor proposed yesterday. It would be fair to say, based on the letters sent to pensioners earlier this year, that while the Revenue Commissioners have come a long way in ensuring their forms are more understandable, they also have a long way to go. Many senior citizens found the correspondence they received difficult to comprehend. The Minister suggests the proposal would give rise to a significant expense. Has his Department or the Revenue estimated the cost? The Department sets out on its website information about areas of expenditure. We are simply seeking to provide clarity by sending taxpayers a statement on where their money is being spent. The information would not be individualised because the same pie chart would in effect be sent to everybody. One cannot expect people to go to the website of the Department of Finance or the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to drill down into how the money is spent. This proposal would assist our citizens in buying into an increased tax burden. If it is not possible to implement the proposal this year, I would be happy with an indication from the Minister that he is prepared to consider it in the future.