Shared Parenting Penalised by Government as Flexibilities Problematic on One Parent Family Tax Credit
One Family, Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families, reacted to the announcement of the abolition of One Parent Family tax credit with concern following the Budget 2014 announcement. Today this concern has been cemented with evidence of the government’s inability to practically and holistically respond to what One Family and hundreds of parents have been communicating since the shock announcement.
One Family wrote to every TD and publicised information based on over 40 years of experience including direct feedback based on what hundreds of parents told us following the announcement about the damaging consequences for separated Fathers and Mothers who share parenting of their children.
Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family, comments: “One Family warned the government that merely making the Single Parent Child Carer credit available to one or other separated parent will cause huge problems and we predict that there will be heavier court use, family conflict and use of the Legal Aid Board as a result. What will happen when the resident parent moves into employment and also requires this tax credit? How will it be decided who gets it? Can it be shared? Either way it continues to be an additional tax on one-parent families who were hit brutally in Budget 2012 and who are continuing to feel these effects year on year.”
Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy and Programmes at One Family states: “The removal of an in-work tax credit from parents who are negotiating the difficult job of sharing parenting is highly disappointing. The hundreds of parents who have contacted us will be very disappointed and all to save a small amount of money to the exchequer.”
The One Parent Family tax credit of €1,650 was previously available to both working parents sharing parenting after separation. It will be replaced by a Single Person’s Child Carer tax credit of €1,650 which will now be available first to the parent in receipt of Child Benefit and if not being used by them will be available to the other parent, from January 2014. Some parents may be at a loss of over €125 per month as a result of the removal of the one-parent family tax credit and the removal of the one-parent family tax rate.
In acknowledgement that reform is needed, One Family had proposed that a Child Support & Parenting Agreement – a written agreement between separated parents on the amount of child maintenance to be paid towards the financial costs of raising their children including an agreed plan in relation to parenting issues as appropriate with be in place between the parents – be submitted when applying for the tax credit. This would help to ensure that separated parents engaged in appropriate shared parenting arrangements would be able to avail of the Tax Credit and/or allocate the credit between them.
One Family regrets that government has not listened to separated parents sharing parenting responsibly and has not accounted for the long-term outcomes of this mistaken reform which will result in increased risk of poverty for many of the fathers, mothers and children already at the highest risk of deprivation in the state today.
Concerned parents can contact the lo-call askonefamily helpline on 1890 662 9212 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.