Hospitality workers feel they will be overtaxed

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Unless the pandemic unemployment benefits (PUP) are cancelled, thousands of workers returning to work in hospitality and other industries in the coming weeks may be overtaxed.

According to the Department of Social Protection data yesterday, about 50,754 hotel staff received PUP, up from 54,518. With the provision of indoor hospitality services for fully vaccinated people later this month, this number is expected to decline further. Currently, the government’s goal is to reopen on July 23.

But the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is prompting PUP recipients to get in touch with the Department of Social Protection and annul their payment before returning to the workplace.

If they’re not hands-on, they could be taxed on both their salary and their PUP in their first week back on the job, the professional accountancy body cautioned.

Like most benefits, PUP is taxable. When a person registers for income support with the Ministry of Social Protection, that person’s new income will be automatically reported to Income. This is also true when the PUP recipient returns to work-he reports to the department and then to the income.

However, this modification takes time, and if it’s not finished before the payroll process begins, some employees may be overtaxed.

As one of the sectors that have been most exposed throughout the pandemic, the long-awaited re-opening of indoor hospitality is a crucially important step for our economic recovery,” said Catriona Allis, head of ACCA Ireland, “not least with the sector employing 180,000 people throughout Ireland.”

Many of these people will be returning to work for the first time in 15 months, having received the PUP, and we are urging them to inform the department of this change to ensure they are not overtaxed.

While any over-paid tax will eventually be refunded, the net paycheque, for some, could be less than the PUP, putting further pressure on household cash flow.


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