That's Capitalism! Tax dodging with pensions and other stories


Last year the Exchequer lost €7.4bn as a result of the tax break regime, over three times the EU average.  According to the government’s own Economic and Social Research Institute, 80% of the tax relief available on pension contributions goes to the wealthiest 20% of earners.

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with a strong craving for... gold?  You can satisfy that craving any time you want, day or night, with a gold-dispersing machine.  Gold to Go machines are already in use in the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, several spots in Germany, at the Westin Palace hotel in Madrid and the International Airport near Milan, Italy.

In the last ten years there have been 3,183 people brought to court for welfare fraud, adding up to €43 million.  Forty-eight of these were jailed for a total of twelve years.  At the same time there were only 39 prosecutions for tax evasion amounting to €2.25 billion.  This saw six people jailed for a total of three years and nine months.

Peter Sutherland has been sounding off about how the cuts in pay, pensions, education and health should be even more severe.  And why not, it won’t affect him.  The global businessman, Fine Gael veteran and former EU Commissioner is chairman of Goldman Sachs International, vice-chair of the European Round Table of Industrialists and director of companies in Germany, Turkey and China.  His personal wealth is estimated at €128 million.  But that doesn’t stop this scrounger picking up an annual pension of €51,138 as a former Attorney General of Ireland.

One retired boss from the Central Bank is getting a pension of over €205,000 a year.  Three others pick up more than €155,000 each.  Bank governor Patrick Honohan has said “pay cuts are essential”, but presumably not for him and his class.

The Revenue Commissioners’ analysis for 2008 showed that 189 rich individuals with an annual income of €500,000, or more, paid an average tax rate of just 19.86%. Of 234 individuals earning between €250,000 and €500,000:

  • 54 paid tax at a rate of 0% - 5%
  • 34 paid tax at a rate of 5% - 10%,
  • 145 paid tax at a rate of 10% - 20%,
  • Just 1 individual paid tax at 20%
  • None of them paid tax at a rate in excess of 25%