As published on derryjournal.com, Wednesday 12 August, 2020.
Foyle MP Colum Eastwood has called on Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to address tax issues for cross-border workers “to help make our island the best place to work from home”.
Following discussions with cross-border employees, the SDLP Leader called on the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mr Varadkar to help address the challenges.
He said: “Many workplaces on both sides of the border were forced to close in the interests of safety of the workers, staff and public. Over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic I have spoken to cross-border workers who have outlined the challenges they’re facing, especially working from home and taxation. But now, employees who are working in the North but resident in the Republic, and are now working from home, are being negatively impacted by the current tax regulations in the Republic of Ireland. Employees of NI registered companies who reside in the Republic throughout the Coronavirus crisis are effectively prevented from doing so, as they would be required to pay tax on their earnings. This would be unfair double taxation, as they are already paying tax in NI.
“In these uncertain times for our cross-border workers, it’s a positive step that employees can avail of Cross Border Worker Relief, but it must go further. It is important that those working cross-border who must now work from home in the North are not negatively impacted by, what is essentially, double taxation.”
Mr Eastwood continued: “I’m aware that the Irish government are carrying out a consultation into remote working, but it’s vital that they give important consideration to changing current tax laws to protect cross-border workers who are remote working during this pandemic, any second wave and into the future.
“I have contacted the Tánaiste to relay the challenges and worries that my cross-border working constituents are facing with the current tax regulations and have asked that action be taken to protect them .”
Raising the issue of new challenges for our all-island economy, Mr Eastwood commented further:
“Over this crisis we have been presented with many challenges. It is now our chance to turn these challenges into opportunities.
“A generation of young people left our island after the 2008 crash in search of opportunities abroad, but our Island remains their home. Ireland, north and south can be the best place in the world to work from home.
“With the correct digital infrastructure in place, the removal of barriers to global working and a joint strategy across the island, we can surely attract back our young people who left, developed their skills and gained experience abroad.
“The way the world works is changing. Now is our opportunity to change with it.”