O'DEA: PLANS FOR 'BABYSIT TAX' ABSURD; Revenue set to tie grandparents up with red tape.
PLANS to force people who mind their grandchildren to register for tax were last night branded "absurd".
Furious Fianna Fail TD Willie O'Dea said the costly move would only cause "extra hassle".
Social Protection and Social Equality spokesman Mr O'Dea hit out after it emerged Revenue is to force all childminders to fill in a 26-page tax return form regardless of their income.
The new measure will include grandparents who look after their grandchildren.
But childminders earning less than [euro]15,000 a year do not have to pay tax.
Mr O'Dea told the Irish Sunday Mirror: "I think it's a bit over the top. It's creating unnecessary extra bureaucracy.
"I don't think there is going to be any significant tax saving because Revenue have the right to audit people and somebody would be afraid of the consequences of an audit.
"If they under-declare, they face substantial penalties and so really the audit system limits the chances of people underdeclaring so this is completely unnecessary."
EXPENSIVE Mr O'Dea believes Revenue's attempt to clampdown on childminders is counterproductive as it will only make the service more expensive for parents - and the public will also pay for the extra paperwork involved.
He added: "This is going to cost taxpayers money because it's going to take people from Revenue to sift through all this. It will be a waste of their time and ours.
"Anything that puts extra expense on people doing their job, like childminding, will be added to what they charge, so the cost will be passed on to the public.
"So whatever this does, it certainly is not going to decrease the cost of childminding, which is necessary."
The Limerick politician warned low-income families and workers will be hardest hit.
He said: "It's absurd. The Government that is allowing this is rapidly losing touch with reality.
"They are pushing more bureaucracy on people who are living on the margin, struggling to survive week to week."
TRAINING But Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said childminders working from home should get training.
She added: "I think the Revenue are just anxious to see such women who are working at home to be included.
"Where people are childminding in the home, and it's the preferred option of a lot of women, they should be registered.
"There should be levels of training so we ensure childminding in the home provides the most up-to-date services for children."
Tax experts have noted many childminders do not know they must pay PRSI even if their income is not high enough to be taxed. Any childminder earning more than [euro]5,000 is meant to pay a flat PRSI rate of [euro]500. Meanwhile, a Revenue spokeswoman explained only childminders working for themselves are exempt from tax when they earn less than [euro]15,000.
She added only 450 people have signed up for this exemption.
head to head Willie O'Dea and Joan Burton clash over move