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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 31 October, 2014

FG backbencher preparing ‘tax transparency’ bill to show where money goes

Eoghan Murphy wants to follow the lead of the UK, where each taxpayer is being given a breakdown of their tax spending.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive

A FINE GAEL BACKBENCHER says he is preparing legislation which will see Irish taxpayers offered a breakdown of how their tax is spent, following the lead of new proposals being launched in the UK today.

George Osborne this morning unveiled plans which would see every UK taxpayer given a personalised breakdown of how much they paid in income tax for the previous year, and where that cash was spent.

The latter portion of the document is produced by taking the government’s total expenditure in areas like health, education and so on, and showing a proportion of it based on how much of the government’s total income tax is contributed by any individual taxpayer.

This afternoon Eoghan Murphy called for a similar system to be offered in Ireland – and said he was preparing a Tax Transparency Bill making it a legal requirement.

“Ireland should follow the UK’s lead here in bringing greater transparency to public finances and highlighting the relationship between what people pay in tax to central government and how that money is spent,” Murphy said.

The Dublin South East TD said he had been in contact with Ben Gummer, the British MP who had come forward with the proposals there, and begun working on his own similar legislation as a result.

“The Bill is at an advanced stage and we should be publishing it before the Easter recess. It won’t look too different to what the UK Chancellor has announced today. It’s a good idea and we should adopt it.”

Dáil procedures allow for legislation put forward by backbenchers and opposition TDs to be discussed one day per month, but so far no backbench legislation has been brought forward by government members.

The idea was backed by his party colleague from Dublin South East, Senator Catherine Noone, who said the government had ensure we are communicating clearly with the public at all times”.

“The Irish people have shouldered a lot of the burden of the economic crisis in recent years, and I believe it is important that we make sure we explain how their hard earned taxes are spent,” she said.

“I think that a better understanding of the challenges that we face as a Government might help to rationalise some of the difficult decisions we are taking as we face our responsibilities head on.”

Read: State is overspending by €3,879 per person, according to TD’s sums >

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