herald

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Worried OAPs flood helplines in tax fiasco

The Revenue Commissioners' phone lines and offices have been besieged by anxious pensioners worried about the prospect of facing tax bills for thousands of euro.

Up to 115,000 elderly people are bracing themselves to have their pensions raided by the taxman as early as next month.

And the Government was left red-faced today after the Revenue Commissioners admitted that they could not yet pinpoint who exactly will be liable to cough up extra tax.

The liability for a single person in receipt of two pensions could be as high as €4,400 or €8,800 for a couple.

Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes moved to allay fears in an interview with the Herald.

"I would urge people not to get upset or to feel stressed. Despite reports, there is no question of thousands of pensioners being forced to pay arrears," he said.

Age Action Ireland described pensioners receiving the letters as "feeling like the guards had just called to your door".

Mary Morrison (80), told the Herald: "As a citizen I feel it is not right what they are doing to people. I'm very annoyed."

The Revenue Commissioners were forced to open four special helplines to deal with fuming pensioners. The Herald has learned that a significant number may have been sent letters in error, and do not owe any additional tax.

Mr Hayes said the fiasco was down to a "communication breakdown" between government departments.

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