Unemployment and tax take


Sir, – It was surprising to read in the opening sentence of David McWilliams’s recent column (Weekend Review, December 16th) that “unemployment is falling quickly but income-tax receipts are not rising in tandem” simply because of the vast amount of official, independent and accessible data that directly contradicts this assertion.

Official Revenue statistics available on its website confirm that both PAYE and total income tax receipts are rising, and rising significantly, regardless of the metric used. Revenue confirmed to date in 2017, income tax receipts are 4.2 per cent ahead of the same point last year. This follows strong growth of 3.9 per cent in receipts in 2016 and 5.9 per cent in 2015, despite cuts to USC rates. In fact, 2016 income tax receipts of €20.9 billion are over 50 per cent higher than the €13.6 billion taken in during the final “boom” year of 2007.

Similarly, the CSO website confirms the numbers of standard and higher rate taxpayers are at record levels and that the quantum of income subject to tax continues to break records annually. More people are earning more money and paying more income tax than ever.

If, as David McWilliams more credibly asserts, “prosperity for the average working person remains elusive”, a better explanation might be the greatly increased income tax they have paid, which has outpaced both inflation and salary increases over the last 10 years. – Yours, etc,


Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.