Irish Revenue Chief Apologies For Pension Tax Farce

By Editorial 13 January, 2012

The chair of the Irish Revenue Commissioners has been forced to apologise for the distress caused by the disclosure that thousands of Irish pensioners are to face unexpected tax charges.

Recently, the Revenue revealed that it had discovered inaccuracies in information held on Department of Social Protection (DSP) pensions. Around 115,000 pensioners received letters from the Revenue detailing the error, with many told to expect greater tax deductions from their DSP pensions in future.

Speaking in front of the parliamentary finance committee on January 11, Josephine Feehily said the Revenue had received 35,000 telephone calls and 20,000 walk-in visitors concerned about the issue since January 6.

Feehily said: "We caused confusion and distress to some people and I’m sincerely sorry for that". She clarified that of the pensioners contacted, 20,000 had overpaid tax, 30,000 had never reported their pension liabilities, while 85,000 had underpaid tax.

The charity Age Action has announced that it is to assist the Revenue Commissioners with a public information campaign so that pensioners know what steps they must take to remain tax compliant. A spokesman for the charity said: “What is clear from the controversy over the last week after 115,000 letters were sent by the Revenue to pensioners claiming they had a tax liability, is that there is a lot of misunderstanding and a lack of accurate information about what older people have to do to remain tax compliant."

Age Action has been critical of the way the letters were written and the general communication surrounding the letter writing exercise. The charity believes that better handling of these factors would have greatly reduced the stress caused to pensioners. It is urging people to remain calm, to check if the DSP payment figure on the letter they received is correct, that their private pension or salary details are accurate and that their employer or pension provider details are in order. If any of these are inaccurate, they should contact their local tax office.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series titled "The Lowtax International Pensions Report" which has an in depth view on The Mechanics of Pensions Provision, 'High-Tax' Country Pension Regimes and 'Lowtax' Jurisdictions In Which To Locate Pensions Savings, is available in the Lowtax Library at and a description of the report can be seen at

Tags: Individuals | Expatriates | Compliance | Tax | Pensions | Tax Compliance | Ireland | Retirement | Tax Authority | Tax Planning |


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