Category: Archive

In Dail, minister reveals top Irish wage earners

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — Ireland has 969 top earners who are being paid more than £250,000 a year, Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy has revealed.

In a series of Dail written answers, the minister also disclosed that at the other end of the pay scale there are 26,500 married couples with a taxable income of less than £3,800, or just £73 a week.

The figures from the Revenue Commissioners for the year ending April 1998 show that the vast majority of people — 697,300 — earn less than £20,000 a year.

There were 357,800 in the £20,000-£50,000 income bracket, 40,950 getting between £50,000- £100,000 and 6,350 earning £100,000 and £250,000.

McCreevy told the Green’s Trevor Sargent and Independent Socialist Joe Higgins that the total number of income tax payers in the country was about 965,000.

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A survey of some of the top earners in the £250,000-plus bracket issued by the Revenue Commissioners last year showed that some of them had managed to arrange their affairs to take advantage of special breaks and pay less than 5 percent income tax.

While most of the 400-strong sample paid tax above the average rate, a minority were found to be "engaged in substantial tax planning to minimize income tax, particularly in the area of passive investment in tax-favored buildings."

The results contrasted sharply with the amount paid by those on a weekly wage who pay their tax by Pay As Your Earn, which involved tax rates of up to 48 percent.

The super-rich used a mixture of tax allowances on hotels and tax-designated developments, film making and business expansion schemes and losses, interest payments and pension deals to get their rate of tax down.

Many of the tax breaks were later closed off or minimized by budget changes.

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