Friday, January 06, 2012

Doherty urges concerned pensioners to get in touch with Revenue

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has urged any pensioners who are concerned about their tax liabilities to get in touch with the Revenue Commissioners on their specially extended helpline, which is open to take calls tomorrow. Deputy Doherty also moved to reassure elderly people that the vast majority of pensioners are tax compliant, and have nothing to worry about.

“Thousands of elderly people are understandably concerned and confused after receiving letters from the Revenue Commissioners regarding their tax liabilities. This is not about a witch hunt; it is simply about ensuring that everyone is tax complaint. It’s worth pointing out that the vast majority (80%) of pensioners that were analysed by Revenue are paying the right amount of tax.

“It’s also important to add that those affected are people in receipt of a private pension, as well as the State pension, and it’s the additional income that means they will have to pay some extra tax. Many of the 115,000 people who have been underpaying tax will have to make a very small adjustment, so we are only taking about modest sums of money in most cases here. In other instances, where people have much bigger pensions, larger sums will be involved.

“Now is the time for any uncertainty on this issue to be cleared up. The Revenue Commissioners is opening a helpline this weekend, and I would urge anyone who is concerned to get in touch. Revenue have said today that there will be no general arrears programme, so most people shouldn’t be worried that they will be pursued for years of back tax. The Commissioners are focussed on making these adjustments from this year onwards.

“While it is essential to ensure that everyone is tax complaint, I think there are certainly lessons to be learnt from this episode. It can be very unsettling for an elderly person, who is possibly living alone, to receive an unexpected letter in the post about their financial affairs. I would urge Revenue to consider the methods they use in the future when they have such important information to impart to a large section of the public.”

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