“THE National Remote Workforce Strategy is to be welcomed as an indication of a progressive society, which cares about the welfare of employers and employees alike,” said Marian Ryan, consumer tax manager with Taxback.com.
“But migrating to greater numbers of a remote workforce will be a process, and a fluid one at that, and all stakeholders will have to be flexible in their response to the challenges and opportunities it presents.
“One such challenge, and subsequent opportunity, would be for the Government to take a keener look at the reliefs and allowances in place for those who do work from home long-term. Currently, remote workers are entitled to the eWorker tax relief which is only worth between €30-€100 approximately per year to the average worker.
“However, while there are many benefits to working from home, a potential downside can be the additional cost to the employee, who really shouldn’t be penalised financially just because of their place of work.
“Pillar one of the strategy focussed on creating a conducive environment for the adoption of remote work…changes to how and where people work will have impacts on a number of different areas such as the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, health and safety legislation and tax arrangements.
“We fully support the Government’s indication that it will review current tax arrangements and, as the strategy mentions, we hope it finds merit in further enhancements.
“We are hoping too that the Government would consider our proposal to introduce a new Flat Rate Expense category for Ireland’s new remote workforce. This type of relief is already embedded in our tax system, so its roll-out could be relatively straight forward.
“Currently, from a tax perspective, an employer can pay €3.20 a day to their employee to cover these additional costs. This payment is tax free, which means they won’t be deducting PAYE, PRSI or USC from that amount. Introducing a Flat Rate Expense equivalent to this €3.20/day payment would really give a welcome capital injection to an employee’s finances and would take the pressure off employers who now find themselves with a whole new remote workforce, to pay the cost of utilities etc.”