Singles subsidising married


SINGLE PEOPLE are subsidising the lives of married couples because of anomalies in the tax system, Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar told the Dáil yesterday.

Speaking during the debate on the Civil Partnership Bill, Mr Varadkar said he was single and lived alone. Other TDs paid less tax than him because their domestic circumstances were different.

“There would be people in this House for example who have the same income as me who have stay-at-home wives who don’t work, yet they pay less tax than I do because their wife doesn’t work and potentially spends the day on the golf course or eating lunch or whatever,” he said.

“I’ve no objection to that. That’s people’s choice. I do have an objection to the fact that single people have to pay more tax so that other people can have that choice. And I think that’s something that needs to be addressed in our tax system.”

Mr Varadkar said while tax issues were not dealt with in the Bill under discussion, he predicted the proposed legislation would present implications for future Finance Bills.

“Being single, I pay a lot of tax. I do not wish to be poor-mouthing but must state I probably pay 40 per cent of my income in tax,” he said.

Like many single people in the State, he said, he paid his mortgage and utility bills on his own.

He said it was ironic that if he was to marry someone earning less than €25,000, he would be able to share the costs of living and reduce his tax bill by €7,000.

“The same could apply to people who enter a civil partnership. So essentially you have single people effectively subsidising the lifestyles of people who happen to be married.”

Mr Varadkar said he was sure he would be “attacked” for raising these matters.