FOLLOWING a review of flat rate (employment) expenses by the Revenue Commissioners, the decision has been made to cease the current automatic system which applies to shop assistant grades. This will take effect from the end of the 2018 tax year.
All shop assistants were entitled to an un-vouched income disregard allowance of €121 a year. This was to cover the purchase and maintenance of staff uniforms necessary for the performance of their duties as sales assistants.
So for workers earning more than €16,500 a year this meant an annual net benefit of either €24 or €48, depending on their tax band and earnings.
Mandate made a detailed submission to the Revenue Commissioners seeking the retention of the old flat rate expense system but to no avail.
It is understood that other groups of workers such a hotel workers, bar staff (€93) construction workers (€103 – €175), rail/bus staff (€160) have also had their ‘flat rate’ expenses targeted and withdrawn.
According to Mandate, it is a clear case of those in public office not understanding the realities of working in the real world. Mandate members are mostly lower paid workers and while €24 or €48 per year might not seem too much to lose to the policy mandarins in the Revenue Commissioners, it means a lot to them.
Mandate will continue to lobby with other unions for a full restoration of the allowance. In the meantime if members earn more than €16,500 a year (i.e. the national minimum wage – below which you pay no tax) and you have not got your €121 flat rate allowance each year, contact Revenue Online Service (ROS) through ‘myAccount’ and make a claim to be backdated for the allowance. From 2019 if members continue to spend money on either purchasing or maintaining their uniforms, or any incur other expenses “wholly and exclusively necessary in the performance of your duties at work”, make sure all receipts are kept and make a claim with these receipts at the end of 2019.
More information on this allowance is available here.