In October 2015, the then jobs minister, Richard Bruton, proposed a special tax deal aimed at highly skilled foreign workers and highly skilled Irish emigrants, in an effort to attract them home to Ireland. The flat tax rate for specialised highly skilled returning Irish emigrants was proposed to be set at a flat rate of 30% for anyone earning over €60,000 and would last for five years. This is significantly more attractive than our current tax rate of 49.5% for anyone who falls into this category. The rationale behind this proposal was not only to help bring our emigrants home but would make Ireland a more financially competitive option in the global war on talent for key highly skilled areas such as medicine, science, finance and IT.
The current jobs minister Mary Mitchell O’ Connor has re-ignited this proposal in her budget submission to Michael Noonan. Her proposal differs from her predecessor in that she is proposing a flat rate of tax of 30% to be applied to anyone earning over €75,000 for those returning home to work in the highly skilled jobs sector. As yet, the minister has not specified how long this will last for but I suspect it will be for five years as originally proposed by her predecessor, Richard Bruton.
This controversial proposal is sure to stir up much debate, especially amongst those currently working in the medical, science, financial and IT sectors. Do you think this bold proposal is fair or is a necessary carrot to fill a huge skills gap which exist in key sectors of the Irish economy?