THERE’S BEEN PLENTY of speculation in the last few days that Budget 2013 could potentially include increases to income tax and cuts to social welfare payments.
Brendan Howlin hinted in the Sunday Business Post that the door could not be closed on potential increases and cuts – while his Labour colleague Pat Rabbitte declined a subsequent opportunity to do likewise.
While the EU-IMF deal already dies Ireland into broadening the income tax net and cutting tax credits, the remainder of the Budget seems to remain up in the air – particularly as Enda Kenny this morning refused to offer public comment on the Budget plans.
Given the speculation about what could be in or out, we might this small observation might be worth sharing.
Similarly, when Michael Noonan was asked last month if he could consider introducing a ‘wealth tax’, Noonan said: “The Government does not propose at this time to introduce a wealth tax.”
But when asked if he would consider introducing a new third band of income tax – of 80 per cent, applying to earnings above €80,000 a year - Noonan was not as equivocal, and merely said:
It is a long-standing practice of the Minister for Finance not to comment in advance of the Budget on any tax matters that might be the subject of Budget decisions.
So – does the government comment on pre-Budget speculation? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.