Engagement on the tax treatment of professional subscriptions

The Institute has closely examined Revenue’s new Manual on the tax treatment of professional subscriptions. It appears to narrow the range of circumstances in which an employee’s professional membership subscription can be paid by their employer without deduction of PAYE, when compared to Revenue’s previous guidance (eBrief No. 19/2011). We have raised our concerns about what the Institute perceives to be a change in Revenue’s interpretation of the legislation at TALC and directly with Revenue’s senior management.

Membership of professional bodies and the necessary adherence to codes of professional conduct, continuous professional development, lifelong learning and knowledge-development are important in the delivery of high quality service and in growing the Irish economy.

Now, more than ever, the promotion of the highest standards and continuous learning are essential to supporting businesses with international challenges and opportunities they face, such as Brexit. This view has been echoed by the many members who have contacted us in recent weeks to outline their concerns about Revenue’s new guidance.

In 2017, we engaged with the Department of Finance seeking an amendment to tax legislation that would recognise the importance of maintaining professional membership. We sought the introduction of legislation that would permit professional membership subscriptions made to a professional body, that is on an approved Revenue list, to be paid without deduction of PAYE where the membership is relevant to the employment. This would mirror the approach adopted in the UK.

Over the coming months, we will engage with a broad range of stakeholders to convey the importance of professional membership to Ireland’s competitiveness and to further our work to obtain a change to the tax legislation.