An Examination Of The Irish Tax System

taxes in ireland

High Costs of Living and The Housing Crisis

Ireland’s tax landscape, ever-evolving, tells a story of economic challenges and government responses in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008. The impact of these changes on the average citizen, particularly regarding the controversial Universal Social Charge (USC) and alterations in landlord rental income taxes, has raised questions about fairness and the government’s ability to address the high cost of living and housing crisis.

The Economic Landscape

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Ireland, like many countries, found itself grappling with economic uncertainties. The government was faced with the daunting task of stabilizing the economy while protecting the welfare of its citizens.

Tax System Changes

One of the significant responses to the crisis was a series of tax system changes. These alterations aimed to generate revenue and, in some cases, redistribute wealth. However, as time has passed, it has become clear that the consequences of these changes are complex and contentious.

The Irish government, in the context of taxes, has long favoured corporations. Ireland is a famous tax haven for most major multinational corporations operating and expanding into Europe. This doesn’t start nor end with the likes of Google or Apple. In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis a major concern for the government was unemployment. The major multinational corporations enjoying low (or no) taxes in Ireland did contribute to keeping massive unemployment levels at bay during the worst of the fallout from the global financial crisis. Other countries in Europe such as Spain fared significantly worse than Ireland in this context. However, in the reality of today’s high cost of living, and housing accommodation problems, it’s the average Joe who carries the most significant tax burden for the state.

The Universal Social Charge (USC)

The USC, initially introduced as a temporary measure in 2011, stands as a stark example of the government’s response to economic challenges. Over a decade later, it remains in place, raising concerns about its fairness. Critics argue that the charge lacks progressivity, disproportionately affecting those with lower incomes. If you are facing issues with taxes, starting a business or generally concered about making ends meet, consulting a tax accountant in Ireland is highly recommended.

In the context of the present high cost of living, the USC’s continued existence is a contentious issue. Many argue that it places an undue burden on individuals and families already struggling to make ends meet. The question arises: Is this tax still fair, considering the current financial pressures faced by the Irish population?

Landlord Rental Income Taxes

Another area of taxation that has seen significant change since 2008 is the treatment of landlord rental income. The alterations were introduced to address the housing crisis, which continues to cast a long shadow over the country, especially in Dublin.

While these changes aim to strike a balance between encouraging rental property supply and addressing affordability concerns, their fairness is under scrutiny. In the midst of the ongoing housing crisis, some argue that they place an unfair financial burden on property owners. The debate persists: Are these tax changes fair in light of Dublin’s housing challenges, and do they truly address the core issue?

Government Response to High Costs of Living and Housing Crisis

The Irish government’s response to the high cost of living and the housing crisis has been a subject of ongoing debate. The rising cost of living has put immense financial pressure on the population, and housing problems persist, with no immediate solutions in sight.

Critics argue that the government has not done enough to curb the high cost of living. Measures to reduce the burden on citizens and increase disposable income have been slow to materialize, leaving many struggling to make ends meet.

If the student economy wasn’t nearly completely destroyed by COVID, the once thriving economy of international student education in Ireland is significantly under-threat. For many students coming to Dublin from other countries to study english, university or postgraduate studies; the reality of extremely high costs, and untenable accommodation costs are a significant problem.

Likewise, the housing crisis, particularly in Dublin, continues to be a pressing issue. The government’s policies and strategies to tackle the problem have faced criticism for their effectiveness (ineffectiveness) and long-term vision. An expose by revealed that a significant portion of TD’s in the current government are landlords, but it’s a area extremely grey and difficult to measure. If you didn’t already hate him after COVID-19, Stephen Donnelly failed to properly register his rental property with the Residential Tenancies Board. And, a number of TDs own houses but declare no rental income, and or suggest they are 2nd homes. Again, average Joe probably doesn’t believe the government really wants to see significant changes that would negatively affect ‘their’ property portfolios.


As Ireland grapples with the intricacies of its tax system and the challenges of high living costs and housing, the need for a comprehensive and equitable approach becomes increasingly evident. The discussion surrounding these issues is far from over, and it remains to be seen how the government will address the concerns of its citizens in the years to come.