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TAXING THE THIN BLUE LINE

It would appear not even the thin blue line is exempt from the long arm of the Revenue. The Sunday Business Post reports more than €200m worth of allowances paid to gardaí every year are now under scrutiny.

“Revenue officials are examining whether tax should be paid on most of the 46 allowances currently claimable by members of the force,” the newspaper writes in its page one lead story. “Almost €1 billion has been paid in allowances to Garda members since 2007 … and the tax authorities are believed to have targeted many of these as potentially liable to tax.”

The investigation relates to pensionable and non-pensionable allowances such as rent allowances, which costs the state between €55m and 60m every year. Every officer up to and including the rank of chief-superintendant is entitled to a pensionable €4,017.55 rent allowance every year (the article does not state the reason for this allowance).

Gardaí can also claim for things like clothing – uniform and plain – boots and even bicycles. Superintendants and chief-superintendants are currently paid €8,049 and €10,121 respectively for being available to work outside of normal office hours.

“Gardaí are also eligible for special allowances for being rostered to work at night or unsocial hours,” the newspaper notes. “More than €100m in allowances was paid out in the first half of this year. Last year, allowances cost the exchequer almost €215m.”

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