Recipients of the Covid-19 unemployment payment could be in for a “terrible shock” at the end of the year if an awareness campaign explaining that they could have a tax liability for the benefit does not start soon, a Sligo TD has warned.

Independent deputy Marian Harkin said an advertising campaign was needed to alert people to the potential liability and to encourage them to save a few euro a week to pay it.

She says many receiving the €350 payment have no idea it is taxable or that they could be pursued by the Revenue Commissioners at the end of the year for tax owing.

Revenue said unused tax credits may cover the liabilities of some recipients and that otherwise it would “collect tax in manageable amounts by reducing tax credits for a future year or years in order to minimise any hardship”.

The pandemic unemployment payment was introduced to ensure people who lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus crisis had an income. Some 589,000 people were last week in receipt of the benefit.

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