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Here's how much it would cost to scrap USC for people who earn less than €60,000

Some people want the controversial charged abolished altogether.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the launch of an online tax calculator in Dublin.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the launch of an online tax calculator in Dublin.
Image: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THERE HAS BEEN much talk about the Universal Social Charge in recent weeks, with some calling for its abolition or reform.

Both Enda Kenny and Joan Burton have ruled out the controversial tax being scrapped entirely.

The coalition has taken more than 400,000 people out of the USC bracket since it came to office in 2011, removing some 80,000 people from the paying the charge in last October’s Budget announcement.

But how much would it cost to abolish the charge for all workers earning less than €60,000 a year – close to 2 million people?

People Before Profit Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett recently asked Finance Minister Michael Noonan that very question in the Dáil.

Noonan told Barrett the Revenue Commissioners had informed him that the first and full year cost of raising the Universal Social Charge (USC) exemption threshold to €60,000 would be between €1.6 billion and €2.2 billion.

“These figures are estimated on the basis of no change to the rest of the structure of the USC and that all income would come into charge once the €60,000 threshold was breached,” Noonan said.

Earlier this month, Noonan revealed how much workers are expected to earn in Ireland in 2015.

The two largest groups of earners – 324,506 and 229,709 people – will make between €30,000 – €40,000 and €40,000 – €50,000. More than 360,000 people will earn less than €9,000 next year, while over 125,000 people will make €100,000 plus.

Joan and Enda both agree that USC can’t just be abolished overnight

So, how many people will earn over €200,000 next year?

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Órla Ryan

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