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Tuesday 3 October 2023 Dublin: 13°C
# big spenders
Just how many Irish people can really be classed as filthy rich?
5% of the tax-paying population are on salaries of €100,000 or greater…

IRELAND’S TAX REGIME has traditionally been a bit of a political football, with populist policies from both sides of the spectrum generally to the fore when it comes to the business of getting elected.

‘Tax the rich’ may be the refrain we’re all so familiar with, but it seems there aren’t quite as many stinking rich Irish people as you might believe.

103,000 people, or just over 5% of Ireland’s resident tax base, are earning more than €100,000 a year.

The revelation comes after a public speech on tax by Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes.

“Parties of the left believe that all our problems can be solved by a very large tax increase on those earning more than €100,000,” said Hayes.

The difficulty is that of the 2.1 million taxpayers just over 103,000 cases, or 5% in total, have gross incomes over €100,000.

European Elections Counts Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland Brian Hayes Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Hayes contends that the biggest problem isn’t our tax system, which is progressive (the top 1% earners in Irish society pay 21% of all our income tax it seems), but rather that our middle income earners are getting hit by the top rate of tax at too low a threshold, making emigration an attractive prospect.

Single Irish people hit the top rate of tax at €33,800 per annum. In the UK the figure is €183,285, in France it’s €186,749, and in Germany it’s an enormous €259,100.

That sees an Irish person earning €100,000 a year paying almost €6,000 a year more than a UK resident on the same salary.

Working Abroad Expos in RDS Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Crowds at the Working Abroad expo in Dublin's RDS Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

In 2013 almost 50% of young Irish emigrants left not to find work but by choice. Irish doctors in particular are a demographic who have recently expressed dissatisfaction with the rewards available in Ireland for doing their job.

“It costs in the region of €300,000 euro to raise and educate a young person to graduate level,” says Hayes.

Emigration represents a terrible loss of human capital.

Read: The government says it saved over €10bn by complaining to the Troika

Read: Noonan announces review into Siteserv deal as more FOI documents emerge

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