Galway Senator Seán Kyne is calling on the Revenue Commissioners to extend the deadline for employers who wish to help employees out with COVID-19 tax bills.
In recent weeks it emerged that thousands of PAYE employees who made use of COVID-19 supports such as the Wage Subsidy Scheme were going to be faced with end of year bills.
Money paid under COVID-19 support schemes is taxable as any income or social benefits, but most PAYE employees are used to having their taxes deducted at their source, something which is not the case with the WSS payments.
In total, the Revenue estimated the roughly 420,000 people are receiving tax bills as a result of either the Pandemic Unemployment or Wage Subsidy Scheme payments.
While this has likely come as an unexpected shock for many PAYE employees who received bills in the past fortnight, they will not have to pay all of the money this year.
The Revenue will start collecting the money from January 2022, over a period of four years, and in many cases this will be achieved through reducing tax credits.
Senator Seán Kyne said that he has been contacted by multiple employers and many workers have contacted him recently regarding these tax liabilities.
He said that the Revenue has confirmed to him that employers who wish to help workers with their 2020 income tax bill or USC liabilities caused by wage subsidies may do so.
However, the Revenue also said that employers who wish to help staff clear their bills must do so before June of this year.
“This is unfair,” the Fine Gael Senator said, “It prevents some employers from helping their workers with their tax bills and it prevents workers from clearing tax bills now, thereby delaying the payment of tax at a time when every cent counts.”
“I would appeal to Revenue to extend the June 2021 deadline to at least the end of 2021 and show flexibility and understanding as we continue to grapple with the immense challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.”