Irish workers paying extra €5 billion in tax since crash

State's tax revenues have now reached boom-era peaks...

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Ordinary Irish workers are now paying an extra €5 billion in income tax, when compared to the amount taken by the State when the global financial recession hit in 2008.

Goodbody chief economist Dermot O'Leary noted that overall tax revenues have returned to boom-era peaks over the past year when looking at the latest Exchequer tax returns.

According to the Irish Independent, he said:

"Given that employment is still 7% below those 2007 levels this highlights the degree to which workers have taken the burden of the adjustment over that period."

The hikes have come as a result of adjustments to the tax bands, including the introduction of the universal social charge (USC), and restrictions and removals of tax reliefs.

With the income tax haul up €5.3m from the boom 2008 tax last year to €19bn, the USC accounted for €4bn of the take.

Despite this, the workforce has actually decreased in numbers. O'Leary said that the number of workers now stands at approximately two million, down from a 2.16m peak during the Celtic Tiger era.

The Department of Finance's new Income Tax Reform Plan states:

"Income tax and USC now comprise the single largest source of tax revenue to the Exchequer, having surpassed the proportion contributed by VAT in 2009."

With the take from stamp duty and capital gains tax falling heavily in the past eight years, corporation tax has been the only other portion of the tax haul to increase, up €1bn since the boom. 

Currently 36% of workers pay no income tax.

When asked where the additional income tax money is going, O'Leary said:

"It is not to bail out the banks. It is simply to keep the State running and pay for various services such as the health system and wages."