33% do not believe that higher taxes would lead to better public services
In the latest instalment of the Taxback.com Taxpayer Sentiment Survey Series 2018, 94% of taxpayers said they do not think the Government is doing enough with the current tax intake and that more could be done for the betterment of the country overall. The leading tax refund specialists asked 1,700 taxpayers throughout the country for their views on taxation, with responses indicating a lack of confidence and satisfaction in the Government deployment of taxation resources.
Commenting on the findings, Barry Flanagan Tax Director with Taxback.com, said: “Last year €22,076m was collected by Revenue from Income Tax, Levies and USC (Appendix 1) – this was up 4.2% on 2016. But questions on where this money actually goes and whether or not it could be put to better use are always on the public agenda. Obviously, the opposition in any Government will criticize the current administrations use of public monies, but it would appear that taxpayers themselves also have some criticisms of their own.
“To be fair to those in power, efforts have been made in recent years to provide greater clarity and transparency with the launch of the new www.whereyourmoneygoes.gov.ie (Appendix 2) website last year. But my guess would be that most people aren’t even aware this website exists!”
The new Government website, Whereyourmoneygoes.ie, enables people to track public expenditure and analyse where and how money is being spent. Commenting on the new website, Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister of State for eGovernment at the Department Public Expenditure & Reform said that it was a tool to “allow taxpayers get a better view of how their taxes fund public goods and services”.
However, experts at Taxback.com say that while useful, it’s unlikely to allay the concerns of the general taxpayer, and that more needs to be done to explain how taxes are spent.
Mr. Flanagan went on to say: “Transparency is key when it comes to the use of public money. People are more informed than ever on civic issues that affect everyday life and there is a far greater awareness of, and interest in, best practice and models implemented by other countries. There is clearly a demand for the Government to be more progressive when it comes to investment of public money into national services, and I think this survey highlights that sentiment. Irish people have opinions as to how their tax contributions are spent and are not afraid to voice their expectation of government policy.
In terms of increasing the actual amount of tax monies available to the Government to spend – there is a fairly strong weight of opinion behind the idea of introducing both a new tax rate band as well as a wealth tax. 40% of survey respondents were in favour of bringing in the former on its own, with 30% being in favour of introducing only a wealth tax. A further 30% were in favour of bringing in both together. These figures supplement previous research from our team at Taxback, and together highlight a growing public sentiment for measures to ‘tax the rich’ in Ireland to a greater extent. Perhaps people hope changes to the tax system will bring greater equality and help reduce the gap between the super-rich and the less well off in the country.”
Do you think the Government could be doing more with their current intake of tax?
Would you be prepared to pay more tax if it resulted in better public services?
No – I think we spend enough on public services 39%
No – I don’t think it will make enough of a difference 33%
Yes – I think more should be spent on public services 28%
Should both a wealth tax and a new tax rate band be introduced together?
No – we should just bring in a new tax rate band 40%
No – we should just bring in ‘wealth tax 30%
At €50.76 billion in 2017, total net tax and duty receipts were up by 5.8% on 2016. The largest increases in yield on 2016 were, Income Tax (up €798 million or 4.2%), VAT (up €838 million or 6.7%) and Corporation Tax (up €849 million or 11.5%). Further details on Gross and Net receipts can be found in Tables 1 and 2.