You better watch out Santa... the taxman is coming to town and he’ll know if you’ve been naughty or nice.
Santa Claus impersonators and operators of Christmas grottos and Lapland-themed events have been warned that they must declare all seasonal income to Revenue.
Ireland has seen a proliferation of for-profit Christmas-themed businesses in recent years, with pop-up Santa grottos, Christmas caves, and Lapland locations appearing in many cities and towns from late November.
The lucrative sideline, which sees families shelling out up to €25 a head, has taken over from the traditional community-driven event such as the annual bazaar in the parish hall.
However, as takings reach their peak, Revenue has warned Santa and his little helpers to make a list and check it twice.
“Santa doesn’t file a special tax return, nor do any of his many helpers and, therefore, there is no statistical data available in this respect,” said a Revenue spokesperson.
“However, I can confirm that, even at this very busy time, all Santa’s helpers, elves, and grotto operators need to make sure all the books and records are kept up to date and all taxes are paid. Of course, whether they operate as a sole trader or a company, they know that even income that is occasional in nature, such as seasonal income, is taxable.
“Income derived from the operation of a Santa grotto, including entrance fees, is subject to tax, and the amount of taxable income is computed and charged to tax in the normal manner.”
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