FLAC expresses concerns at the proposed retrospective taxation of the Covid PUP

24 November 2020

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FLAC Chief Executive, Eilis Barry has written to members of the Oireachtas to express concern at the provisions of section 3 of the Finance Bill 2020 which propose to retrospectively impose a tax liability on claims for the Covid Pandemic Unemployment Payment (the “the Covid PUP”). In her correspondence with TDs and Senators Ms Barry enclosed a legal opinion, prepared by FLAC’s Legal Team, in relation to the legislation which is at Report Stage in the Dáil on 2 December 2020 before consideration of the Bill begins in the Seanad on 9 December 2020.

FLAC‘s Managing Solicitor, Sinéad Lucey stated:

“FLAC’s analysis suggests that the retrospective provisions of section 3 of the 2020 Bill may create a tax liability which is unexpected and which disproportionately effects those who have suffered the most financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The proposed provisions may not accord with the constitutional protection of citizen’s property rights. The introduction of retrospective legislation which interferes with those rights is only constitutionally permissible in certain limited circumstances and these circumstances do not seem to apply to the current situation”.

Ms Barry commented:

“FLAC hopes that our significant concerns in relation to this legislation will be addressed as it progresses through the Oireachtas in the coming weeks. Rights are never more important than during a crisis like a pandemic and we at FLAC believe that it is  of utmost importance that policy makers give careful consideration to the constitutional and legal rights of those who rely on social welfare supports at this time.”



Notes to Editor 

1.  FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an Irish human rights organisation, which exists to promote equal access to justice. As an NGO, FLAC relies on a combination of statutory funding, contributions from the legal professions and donations from individuals and grant-making foundations to support its work. 


2.  FLAC offers basic legal information through its telephone information line (1890 350 250). Free legal advice is available from volunteer lawyers through a countrywide network of advice clinics (these clinics are currently conducted over the phone) – more at  FLAC provides legal representation in a small number of cases in the public interest. FLAC provides legal advice directly to members of both the Roma Community and The Irish Traveller Community via specialist legal clinics. FLAC engages in policy work in areas of law that most impact on disadvantaged groups and including consumer credit, personal debt, and fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid. It operates the public interest law project PILA.

FLAC appeared before the Oireachtas Covid Committee . 


3.  FLAC Note is available on FLAC’s website at