Thursday, 6 April 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
68. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he will change the current income tax rules for merchant seamen and other seafarers to enable them to compete more favourably for work with other EU and non-EU nationals. [7166/95]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): The basis of Irish tax law is that Irish residents are liable to tax on their worldwide income. However, the Finance Act, 1994, introduced changes in the rules regarding residence for tax purposes which are of benefit also to individuals who work abroad for part of the year. Section 154 Finance Act, 1994, provides that where an Irish resident works abroad, other than in the UK, for significant periods of the year, totalling not less than 90 days in the year, he or she may be entitled to a proportionate reduction in income, for the purposes of calculating the liability to Irish tax for that year.
As the Deputy will appreciate, it would not be equitable, within the tax code, to single out a particular group of taxpayers such as merchant seamen and other seafarers for special treatment. To  do so would inevitably give rise to cognate claim from taxpayers in other industries who are under similar competitive pressures for similar treatment. Such claims would then, in equity, be hard to resist. The resulting loss to the Exchequer, in terms of revenue foregone, would be substantial and in order to maintain current levels and standards of public services would have to be made up elsewhere by increasing taxation.
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