White questions Revenue on pension tax controversy

Revenue Chairwoman, Josephine Feehily, and officials from the Department of Social Protection faced tough questions last Wednesday, 11 January, from Alex White TD, Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform on the controversy surrounding pensions and potential tax liabilities.

Committee Chairman, Deputy White said: “Last week around 150,000 pensioners received letters from Revenue about their tax compliance, with 115,000 being told they will have to pay extra tax in 2012.

We are pleased that Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily and officials from the Department of Social Protection agreed to attend the committee meeting to discuss the handling of this issue, particularly the communication of the tax situation for some older people.

No-one will argue with the necessity for tax compliance on the part of all citizens. However, many pensioners were unsure of where they stood on their tax liability, and needed reassurance.

At the meeting, which sought to bring some clarity to these matters, Deputy White asked the officials involved how this situation had been so inadequately managed and questioned Revenue on its communications strategy. He said, “lessons would have to be learned for the future.”

Acknowledging Chairwoman Feehily’s public apology for the distress caused to the thousands of pensioners throughout the country, Deputy White also commended the efforts of the public servants who had worked quickly, and through last weekend, to assist members of the public with their immediate queries.