Unions seek tax relief on members’ subs

Fórsa to argue that current rules discriminate against PAYE workers

Protesting farmers outside the Dail in 2013. The Fórsa trade union is unhappy that members cannot claim tax relief on subscriptions when, it says, members of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) can. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/THE IRISH TIMES

Protesting farmers outside the Dail in 2013. The Fórsa trade union is unhappy that members cannot claim tax relief on subscriptions when, it says, members of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) can. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/THE IRISH TIMES

 

Trade unions are to seek the re-introduction of tax relief on subscriptions paid by their members.

In a submission to an Oireachtas committee on Wednesday, the country’s largest public service union, Fórsa, will argue that current arrangements discriminate against PAYE workers .

It will say that tax relief on individual workers’ trade union subscriptions was which was worth €70 a year to members when it was abolished in 2011.

Fórsa says “farmers, accountants, solicitors and other relatively well-paid professionals can claim generous tax relief on subscriptions paid to professional associations and the Irish Farmers’ Association”.

The union’s submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight says : “What is particularly galling is that this discrimination in relation to tax relief on membership subscriptions goes further than just for membership of professional bodies.”

“In fact the Irish Farmers Association advises its members - on the basis of professional advice it has received - that farmers, as self-employed traders, can claim tax relief on their IFA subs, as well as their subs to the Farmers Journal, because they are beneficial to their trade.”

“So it’s clear that farmers, self-employed and employees of certain professions can get tax relief for their subs to various membership.”

Fórsa lead organiser Joe O’Connor says employers also receive full tax relief on their contributions to business lobby organisations like Ibec and ISME.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Mr O’Connor said many countries - including Germany, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Australia and Canada - provided tax relief of trade union subscriptions.