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Ombudsman raises concerns over Revenue contact with tax-compliant pensioners

Meanwhile, Revenue officials are expected to come before an Oireachtas committee this week over the controversy.

Image: garryknight via Creative Commons

THE PENSIONS OMBUDSMAN has criticised the Revenue’s contact with pensioners who do not owe more tax after it emerged last week that thousands of pensioners had been sent a Revenue letter about owing more tax.

Paul Kenny told RTÉ he was concerned that people who are tax compliant were being sent such correspondence from the Revenue.

The Revenue Commissioners has identified around 115,000 pensioners who have to pay extra tax this year. On Friday, the Revenue’s Declan Rigby said the office was not ruling out back-taxing those pensioners who owe money to the Revenue.

Today, Niall Cody of the Revenue Commissioners told Breakfast on Newstalk that different letters were sent out, with some advising people that they were being issued with a new tax credit cert and “not to worry” about it.

“We have said that we are continuing to analyse the figures. What we’re trying to do as present is to ensure that for 2012 it’s correct,” he said. ”We are reviewing and analysing the figures; a lot of people do not have tax arrears.”

Clarification

Opposition TDs last week called on the government to clarify the circumstances under which thousands of pensioners were told they owed more tax.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics last night, Minister Richard Bruton said the government had not withheld information about taxing pensioners, saying that it had made it clear that the Revenue could access information from government departments.

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Bruton dismissed opposition criticism that the government misled people over the pensioner tax issue saying: “All government bodies are providing information to the Revenue.”

Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea accused the government of leaving it to the Revenue to break the news to pensioners, and that the government knew about the issue since November.

Officials from the Revenue and the Department of Social Protection face questioning by an Oireachtas Committee on Wednesday over the controversy, according to the Irish Times.

A Revenue helpline for pensioners who are worried about the additional tax issue will reopen this morning. The LoCall 1890 number changes depending on your area and is outlined in that tax compliance letter sent recently to pensioners.

Read: Revenue not ruling out back tax on pensioners >

More: 115,000 pensioners told: You’ll have to pay more tax >

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