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Substitute teachers refunded after some overtaxed by over €1,200

The issue was caused by a payroll system error that reduced their tax credits to zero.
Feb 28th 2019, 2:48 PM 13,233 9

THE MINISTER FOR Education has said refunds have been issued to substitute teachers who were overtaxed – some by more than €1,200 – due to a payroll system error

The issue affected substitute teachers who were paid in at least three of the pay runs so far this year. 

Revenue introduced a real time PAYE system which went live in January. The payroll files that transferred to Revenue inadvertently included an end date for substitute staff indicating that they would not be paid under this employer number in the future. 

This notification caused the system to immediately reduce the tax credits and cut-off points to zero for this cohort of staff.

In response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne, Minister Joe McHugh said the payroll software has now been amended and refunds have been issued.

He said 533 primary school teachers have been paid back as well as 69 post primary employees and 177 non-teaching staff. The refunds range in value from €0.24 to €1,281.71.

The minister also said approximately 600 additional refunds were to be issued through the post primary payroll today.

One substitute teacher who was impacted by the error told TheJournal.ie that Revenue took more than 50% in tax from three separate pay cheques. 

She was left with just €948 of her €2,136 gross earnings, with a mortgage payment to come out of that as well as bills, groceries, petrol and other expenses. The woman said she was “lucky” that her partner was able to help her out financially. 

“But there must be hundreds of substitute teachers in the same boat as me or worse off because they are renting a flat or room in Dublin for example.” She has received her refund this week. 

A small number of teachers, however, are still reporting today that they have not yet received refunds, despite the minister’s assurances.

In a Facebook group for Irish teachers, one said: “I didn’t get a refund, yet. And if it’s in my next paycheck what’s the point as it will be mostly gone in tax again anyways.”

Another woman said the “incompetence” involved in this error has caused “immense distress” for the people impacted.

“Fifth pay check now that I haven’t been paid properly and taxed over and beyond on my wages. To make matters worse some of my colleagues have told me this morning in school that they have been paid correctly and they have been reimbursed all their tax. Will be calling the DOE [Department of Education] again today, so much for equality and fairness!” another teacher in the group said.

The minister said substitute staff who are experiencing financial hardship, such as not being able to make mortgage payments as a result, can contact his department to seek a letter they can submit to their banks.

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Michelle Hennessy

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