Taxman targets mums looking after children
MORE than 30,000 women who look after children in the home are being targeted by a new tax charge, which has been dubbed a 'tax on mothers'.
Mothers who have previously earned €15,000 per year without paying any form of tax, will now be charged PRSI.
It has been revealed that those who earn money by child minding in their home will be charged a flat rate PRSI charge of €253.
A spokesperson for the Revenue confirmed that the Revenue would now be charging the tax rate for last year for those who are considered self employed. And the decision has shocked tax experts.
Tax guru Cathal Maxwell of the paylesstax.ie website said: "I never heard of anyone getting demands from the Department of Social Welfare or Social Protection as it now known or the Revenue for this PRSI."
This is in spite of the fact that income up to €15,000 from childcare carried out in the home is exempt from tax.
Mr Maxwell said that it had never even been considered that PRSI would be charged on this.
The Department of Social Protection and the Revenue both said that the only change taking place would be the shift in collection of PRSI from the Revenue instead of the Department.
The Department confirmed that childminding in the home of up to €15,000 had previously been exempt from income tax since the announcement of the Budget in 2007.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Protection said: "Initially income was exempt from both tax and PRSI, but a flat rate of €253 per annum, equivalent to the minimum rate for self employed contributors was subsequently introduced.
"The only difference for the 2009 tax year is that Revenue will be billing contributors for their PRSI liability rather than the Department of Social and Family Affairs."
Attempts to determine the decision date to introduce PRSI on child minding mothers by the State were unsuccessful.
However, child minders in the home will not be entitled to jobseeker's benefit in spite of having to pay PRSI, but they would be able to build up entitlements towards a State pension.
Mr Maxwell suggested that the move is being interpreted as a 'tax on mothers', although it would help child minders acquire a pension.
"This could actually be a good thing for the people involved as for paying a flat sum of €253 per annum in PRSI presumably one gets full entitlement to contributory old age pension which would be a very good investment."
Patricia Murray, chief executive of Childminding Ireland, emphasised the importance of childminders being eligible for a contributory pension.
The average cost of childminding in the home is between €100 and €200 per week for parents.