Inter-county GAA players should get tax break according to new survey

Leinster Express Reporter

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Colm Begley of Laois kicks ball over Eric Lownes of Dublin in the Leinster Football Final. Pic: Denis Byrne.

Inter-county GAA players should get a tax Credit or an increase in grants according to a big majority of people interviewed in a new survey.

Some 70% of people would like to see the introduction of a Tax Credit for GAA inter-county players, while 81% would support an increase in grants for these sportspeople.

These are the findings of the latest taxpayer sentiment survey from Taxback.com. In this research, the tax refund experts sought to get the public’s views (1,200 respondents across the country) on whether or not people would be in favour of greater State supports, to what’s already in place for these sports stars.

 Eileen Devereux, Commercial Director at Taxback.com explained the rationale behind the survey.

 “On a GAA match day lots of parties make money – from bars and restaurants, to the ticket sellers to the guys trading hats and scarfs! Central to the occasion, however, are the players who are amateur and do not get paid.

"Given the level of commitment required to play GAA sports at an inter-county level, we were interested to learn whether Irish taxpayers would be in favour of rewarding GAA players with a Tax Credit. The results revealed a significant appetite for the Government to bring in some form of financial incentive with a landslide majority of taxpayers (81%) in favour.”

The Taxback.com also revealed that 74% would like to see the new Tax Credit extended to both male and female Gaelic footballers as well as hurlers and camogie players

The biggest variation in views emerged when it came to the possible value of a proposed Credit with 25% saying it should fall somewhere between €1000 - €2,500, whereas 19% said it should be worth between €2,500 -  €5,000


Former inter-county stars Adrian Morrissey (Wexford) and Mark Davoren (Dublin) believe a Tax Credit would make a real difference for inter-county players.

“Having been an inter-county player for almost 10 years, I know that the sheer time commitment that these players give is massive – and this appears to increase with every passing season,” says Adrian Morrissey.

“There is a lot of sacrifice involved – whether its family or work. That’s why a gesture of a tax break for a player is, in my mind, a no-brainer. It would be some recognition of the commitment the players give to a cause that is bigger than themselves.”

Mark Davoren points out that tax incentive schemes already exist for some sports people in Ireland.

“Rugby players are entitled to a tax refund when they retire. This can amount to a fairly big sum, particularly for the top guys. If there are tax incentives for other sports people in Ireland, I don’t think there’s any reason why GAA players shouldn’t be entitled to a Tax Credit.

"When you reach the top of your sport and you’re playing for your county in front of 80,000 people in Croke Park and hundreds of thousands on TV, I believe you have earned it.

"This would be a small gesture from the Government but something that would be massively appreciated by the players.”

The Taxback.com survey found that 74% of respondents agreed that the Tax Credit should be extended to both male and female inter-county players.

“Public interest in Ladies GAA is certainly on the rise,” says Ms. Devereux, “Attendance figures at Ladies Football All-Ireland Finals have risen each year since 2014. A massive 46,386 attended the 2017 final between Dublin and Mayo. So it’s no great surprise that so many people favoured giving the Credits to all inter-county players regardless of their gender.”

Ms. Devereux said the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, mooted that he may look to introduce tax exemptions for GAA players and other amateur sports people.

"We haven’t heard much in the way of progress on that front to date. Some people might argue that playing Gaelic Games is a hobby. Others argue that players of many sports have to put their lives on hold to some extent, in order to dedicate the time necessary to be at the top of their game.

"It would seem from our survey that most people would support the latter contention.

Despite the amateur label, it’s clear that people appreciate the time and dedication that goes into this sport, which is the lifeblood of the towns and cities of Ireland – particularly in the more rural parts of the country.”

Taxback.com is the global leader in international income tax refund services. They have been filing tax returns for their customers around the world since 1996.

Established in Dublin in 1996 and led by a team of entrepreneurial business executives Taxback.com has 27 offices worldwide, in Europe, Australasia, the United States and South America, and a staff of over 940.

SURVEY DETAILS BELOW

Government Grant to GAA Players

Every male GAA inter-county player receives an annual Government Grant to assist with the significant costs associated with preparing and playing their game at the top level. 

Key info:

• The Government has committed €2.3m in Grants to players in 2018 and €3m in 2019

• This amounts to:

(1)   a potential minimum payment of €734 and maximum payment of €1,687 for a player in 2018

(2)   a potential minimum payment of €970 and a maximum payment of €2,227 for a player in 2019

• The further a team goes in the Championship, the larger the Grant their players will receive (due to the fact they have participated in more training sessions/games and incurred more costs than those who exit the Championship at an earlier stage)

• Every player on a county team receives the same Grant amount (which is based on a particular team’s performance that season)

• Ladies football and camogie players do not receive the same Grant. Although their teams do receive funding from the Government. However, this money is used solely for the purposes of team development

 Q1 - Given the level of commitment currently required to play GAA sports at an inter-county level and the 'professional' approach adopted by most counties, do you think GAA players should be rewarded with a Tax Credit (in addition to the Government Grant)?

Yes. They deserve it                                                                                                                                                         70%

No. That would go against the ethos of the GAA                                                                                                  8%

No. I would prefer if players received a larger Grant from the Government instead                                 11%

No. I don’t think players should get a Credit or a Grant                                                                                    11%

 

Q2 - If GAA players do receive a Tax Credit, how much do you think this Credit should be worth per year?

€0 - €500                                                                                                                                                                             24%

€500 - €1,000                                                                                                                                                                     23%

€1,000 - €2,500                                                                                                                                                                 25%

€2,500 - €5,000                                                                                                                                                                 19%

More than €5,000                                                                                                                                                             9%

 

Q3 - Who should be entitled to the Credit?

Inter-county Gaelic Footballers (Men)                                                                                                                      24%

Inter-county Gaelic Footballers (Ladies)                                                                                                                   22%

Inter-county Hurlers                                                                                                                                                         21%

Inter-county Camogie players                                                                                                                                      18%

All of the above                                                                                                                                                                 74%

None of the above                                                                                                                                                            14%

 

Q4 - Do you think every player should be entitled to the same Credit?

Yes. Every player should get the same Credit                                                                                                        64%

No. Players that win individual / team awards should receive a larger Credit                                7%

No. The system should be tiered depending on where a team places in the league                                      15%

No one should be entitled to the Credit                                                                                                                  14%

 

Q5 - Should this Tax Credit be limited to inter-county GAA players?

Yes                                                                                                                                                                                          35%

No. All GAA players (club and county) should be entitled to it                                                                        22%

No. All Irish Olympians should be included too                                                                                                     11%

No. Other amateur athletes in Ireland who play other sports (soccer, hockey, basketball, cricket etc) should also get the Credit                                                                                                                                                          8%

No. All amateur sports people should be entitled to it                                                                                      8%

Sport is a hobby – I don’t think any amateur sports people should get preferential tax treatment                                                                                                                                                                                                                       16%