Kenny pledges more tax breaks for self-employed in Budget
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has reiterated his pledge to provide further tax breaks for the self-employed if Fine Gael is returned to power.
Mr Kenny said the boost will come in the form of tax credits as part of plans to put the self-employed on an equal tax footing with Paye workers.
In October's Budget, Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced the introduction of a €550 tax credit for the self-employed and small business owners. The credit is designed at easing the tax burden for a sector that employs 730,000.
Speaking during his end-of-year briefing for political correspondents, the Taoiseach said the tax credit will be at least doubled in next year's budget, if Fine Gael is re-elected.
Mr Kenny said the aim is to offer an annual tax break of €1,650 by 2018 - bringing the self-employed in line with PAYE workers.
"So if this party is re-elected to Government, Fine Gael will complete the process by 2018, which will be matching the €1,650 PAYE tax credit with an increase in the earned income tax credit by at least another €550 in 2017," Mr Kenny said.
"It's not for me to be presumptuous about any of these things ... but if elected, that is the commitment we will follow through on, because it is obviously important for the self-employed that the issue, which has been around for a long time, be addressed and dealt with."
Fine Gael's approach towards the self-employed, whereby measures are introduced incrementally over several budgets, is similar to the approach taken to the Universal Social Charge (USC) and childcare.
In relation to the USC, the senior coalition partner has pledged to scrap the tax entirely over the course of the next government. However, the Labour Party has said it will maintain USC for higher earners.
Meanwhile, Mr Kenny also pledged to continue reforming Capital Gains Tax (CGT) in order to benefit businesses,
"Now Michael Noonan and Richard Bruton are looking at the next steps in making the capital gains tax regime for entrepreneurs more competitive, vis-a-vis the situation that applies in the UK following the introduction of a new 20pc rate in the [Irish] Budget on the first €1m capital gain from the disposal of a business," he said.