Seanad claims of ‘extreme communism’ in inheritance tax row

Fianna Fáil claims anti-Dublin bias, but Labour says inheritance perpetuates inequality

Senator Mary White called for an increase on the inheritance tax threshold. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Senator Mary White called for an increase on the inheritance tax threshold. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

There were claims in the Seanad of “extreme communism” in a row over the inheritance tax threshold.

Fianna Fáil Senator Mary White called for an increase in the threshold at which tax is paid on an inheritance, from €225,000 to €400,000, and said the rate should drop from 33 per cent to 20 per cent once the threshold is reached.

Ms White said OECD figures showed Ireland “has one of the toughest inheritance tax regimes in the world, and Dublin accounts for over half of all inheritance tax paid last year”.

She cited Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown, where the average price of a three-bedroom house was €500,000.

“The blow,” she said, “is that in the midst of being overwhelmed by the deaths of their parents, people must pay this tax up front” and might gain nothing from the sale.

Labour Senator Aideen Hayden, however, said the inheritance tax was tax on unearned income.

“Someone can work a couple of extra hours in a supermarket and pay 40 per cent at the marginal rate,” she said.

“I do not think tax on unearned income should be lower than tax where people go out and work in productive employment,” Ms Hayden said.

Ms White asked if Ms Hayden has a “problem with children who may have to sell the property up front to pay the tax? This is extreme communism.”

Ms Hayden replied that “I’m sure people on social welfare in Ireland would not regard that as communism”.