Seanad debates

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages


3:00 am

Photo of Paul BradfordPaul Bradford (Fine Gael)

The section provides that all taxes and duties imposed by this Act are placed under the care and management of the Revenue Commissioners, which is no surprise. The Revenue Commissioners and the State have a certain obligation and on the other side of the equation there is the obligation of the individual. There have been suggestions, and I am availing of this semi-related section to discuss this, about the desirability or otherwise of requesting, rather than obliging, every citizen to make a tax return. Should every citizen make a tax return we would not have these anomalies of over-payments and under-payments and the anomaly whereby apparently hundreds of millions of euro in various tax reliefs are not claimed by taxpayers every year. Some forget to claim their refuse charges relief and others forget to claim health expenses relief and so forth. I accept there would be a degree of administrative difficulty at the start of such a process but should we try to put in place a scheme to encourage and eventually oblige every citizen, be they income earners, social welfare recipients or self-employed persons, to complete a return of income or tax return every year? Does the Minister have a view on it? It has been suggested many times but it has not been progressed.


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