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Dublin: 12°C Thursday 30 June 2022

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…

Image: Shutterstock/Ollyy

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 Brian Hayes Source: Eamonn Farrell/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 Crowds at the Working Abroad expo in Dublin's RDS Source: Sasko Lazarov/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.

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