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25th Aug 2016

Government could sharply increase the price of a pint as an alternative to USC

Carl Kinsella

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Very few people get any enjoyment out of paying their taxes, no matter what form those taxes take…

A Department of Finance document exploring alternatives to the Universal Social Charge, which the government has promised to do away with by 2020, has been obtained by Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty.

According to RTÉ, the document suggests that if the USC were to be done away with immediately, one of the ways the government could increase tax revenue is by increasing property tax by 600%.

The USC currently raises roughly €4bn a year for the government, a significant portion of the country’s total tax revenue. However, as it was first implement in January 2011 shortly after the bailout, many think of the tax as a relic of the recession era – as an austerity measure.

Other ways to offset this €4bn loss to Irish tax revenue would be to increase indirect taxes – such as taxes on specific goods, like alcohol and diesel. A litre of diesel would increase by 18c, and a pint of beer could cost a whopping €1.50 more.

An overall rise in income tax of 5% is also discussed.

As the great John Giles says: “Not great options, are they?”

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