Half of workers are unaware of their tax obligations — including their entitlements

Half of workers are unaware of their tax obligations — including their entitlements

Taxback.com said its latest Taxpayer Sentiment Survey found that of the 1,500 taxpayers questioned, 54% said they were either unsure of, or simply did not know, what is legally required of them when it comes to personal declarations. 

More than half of Irish workers are confused about their obligations when it comes to paying tax — which in turn means they are missing out on entitlements.

Taxback.com said its latest Taxpayer Sentiment Survey found that of the 1,500 taxpayers questioned, 54% said they were either unsure of, or simply did not know, what is legally required of them when it comes to personal declarations. 

The survey also revealed widespread confusion around tax filing requirements for both PAYE and non-PAYE income, Taxback.com said.

This stark figure could mean more than one million workers across Ireland are unaware of their obligations, if the survey results were proportionate to the population, Taxback.com chief executive Joanna Murphy said.

Speaking ahead of Taxback.com's online summit tomorrow to explore the future of employee wellbeing in Ireland, Ms Murphy said: "Overall, this survey highlights a very real gap in workers’ understanding of the tax system and their obligations within it. 

"It comes as a surprise to learn that so few (22%) are aware that those earning additional income outside the PAYE system — for example through rent, investments, or self-employment — are obliged to file an annual tax return."

She said that in most cases, tax must be paid on this income and often those earning over a certain amount will need to file a self-assessed tax return. 

People are clearly confused with it comes to tax filing obligations, and more needs to be done to give workers a base level of knowledge of income tax and how it works.

"It is not just their obligations that is confusing to workers, but also what they may be entitled to claim," Ms Murphy said.

"People are clearly confused when it comes to tax file obligations and perhaps a logical consequence of this dearth of knowledge is that there is a corresponding dearth of taxpayers exercising their right to their entitlements, and who are not using the financial supports that are available to them in the form of tax refunds and reliefs."

Employee wellbeing is going to be key in a post-Covid world, Ms Murphy said.

"Over the past 12 months, we have all experienced a monumental shift in the way we work. 

Our approach to doing business and the expectations we have of our employers and working environment have evolved for the better.

The online summit, which is free to attend, "will be a meeting of like-minded people who strive to make all workplaces a great place to work and ensure that employees are happy, engaged, and productive", Ms Murphy said.

An example of the general lack of tax awareness manifested itself early in 2021 when it emerged that thousands of workers were told by Revenue that a tax liability would have to be paid after receiving either the Pandemic Unemployment Payment or the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Revenue said at the time that it was important to note that each year, there is very much a normal end-of-year process for all PAYE taxpayers, and that this year is no different.

However, it came as a shock to many workers who were unaware such a bill was to drop, albeit payable over a number of years. 

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.