I am writing to update you about proposed changes to flat-rate expense allowances for nurses and midwives.
Flat-rate expenses are essentially a tax break to help cover the cost of equipment that employees need for work. Employees can claim with receipts for individual purchases, but the flat-rate system is designed to reduce red tape and be less hassle for employees.
At the moment, over 150 categories of employee, many of them working in the services and health sectors, automatically receive the deduction to reflect costs incurred to do their job. For our professions, this includes things like the purchase and cleaning of uniforms, shoes, and the NMBI annual fee.
Since 2005, the allowance for nurses and midwives has been fixed at €733 – which means you don’t pay tax on that amount, saving up to a maximum of €293 a year, depending on the rate of tax you pay.
The Revenue Commissioners are currently carrying out a review of the flat-rate expense allowances. This is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 and implemented from the start of 2020.
The INMO has met with the Revenue repeatedly on this issue, making detailed submissions regarding the costs incurred by our members in the performance of their duties.
Revenue had planned to reduce this allowance considerably for nurses and midwives, but we have successfully argued that the cost of laundry is especially onerous on nursing and midwifery grades, in part due to employers’ infection control and uniform policies. Thanks to the lobbying and campaigning of the INMO, we will be one of the few sectors which will keep a flat-rate allowance.
However, they are proposing lowering the allowance from €733 to €360, meaning a tax saving of €144, rather than the current €293. This is not acceptable to the INMO, so we are continuing to lobby and put pressure on Revenue. They are now considering our further submissions on this matter.
I will write to keep you updated on how this campaign progresses.
In the meantime, it is important to note that – regardless of the flat-rate expense allowance changes – nurses and midwives are still able to make individual claims for tax deductions on things such as the NMBI retention fee, laundry costs, shoes, uniforms and any equipment you buy which is exclusively and wholly for your duties. Receipts must be produced for Revenue purposes.
Should the flat-rate allowance be reduced by the Revenue, we will work with members to ensure that all are aware and able to make full use of tax deductions, to ensure that none lose out financially.
Phil Ní Sheaghdha
INMO General Secretary