Dáil Éireann - Volume 679 - 31 March, 2009
Written Answers. - Tax and Social Welfare Code.
Deputy Olwyn Enright Deputy Olwyn Enright
Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if, in conjunction with the Department of Finance, she will address the anomaly whereby cohabitation with another person is considered as a means for social welfare purposes, yet it is not considered by her Department for tax credit purposes; if her attention has been drawn to the disadvantage that this puts such families at; if same will be addressed in the forthcoming budget; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12808/09]
Deputy Mary Hanafin Deputy Mary Hanafin
Deputy Mary Hanafin: The social welfare and tax systems have evolved over time and in response to a variety of factors, including Constitutional imperatives as interpreted by the Courts, changing social trends and EU Directives. The EEC Equality Directive 79/9 and the subsequent Supreme Court case ( Hyland v Minister for Social Welfare, 1989 ) led to the change in the treatment of non-married cohabiting couples in the social welfare code. The Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the total income a married couple received in social welfare benefits to be less than the couple would have received if they were unmarried and cohabiting. Accordingly, there was a constitutional imperative for the  social welfare code to treat married and cohabiting couples in a similar manner. The income tax arrangements for cohabiting couples are a matter for the Minister for Finance.
Dáil Éireann 679 Written Answers. Tax and Social Welfare Code.