Written Answers. - Taxation of Social Welfare Benefits.

Austin Deasy

Question:

39 Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the proposals, if any, he has to abolish the taxation of social welfare benefit payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17509/95]

It is a general principle of taxation that, as far as possible, all income from whatever source should be subject to tax. In line with the principle most social welfare payments are reckonable as income for tax purposes. This is essentially a matter of equity so as to treat people on similar income in the same way. It is, therefore, not proposed to exempt social welfare payments from taxation.

The extent to which taxation actually arises in a given case depends, of course, on the amount of other income that the social welfare recipient, or the recipient's spouse, has in the particular tax year. If there is no other income in addition to the social welfare payment, the existing exemption limits and allowances can be expected to ensure that there is no tax to be paid on social welfare income itself.