Pensioner contemplated suicide after Revenue letter

Pensioners in the South East descended on the Kilkenny Tax Office in the aftermath of the government’s bungled attempts to tax their pensions.

Pensioners in the South East descended on the Kilkenny Tax Office in the aftermath of the government’s bungled attempts to tax their pensions.

Kilkenny tax office serves the whole South East region and after thousands of letters were sent out to pensioners stating that they may not be tax-compliant, pensioners in Kilkenny all complained about the tone of the letter that they had received. Pensioners described the letters as “high-handed” and “bamboozling”.

One Kilkenny pensioner, Patrick Holohan from Assumption Place, said he was so upset by the letter that he received he contemplated suicide.

“I’ll tell you I was contemplating suicide over that letter. According to the letter I was committing fraud. The first thing I thought was suicide, but then I thought, who would look after my wife if I was gone. It is ridiculous for older people to have to go through this,” said Mr Holohan.

Mr Holohan cares for his sick wife, who used to work in the tax office herself. He said she used to look after all of their tax affairs and he was extremely upset to have received the letter in the manner that he did.

As it transpired, Mr Holohan was one of the thousands of pensioners who was tax-compliant and yet received a letter.

A spokesperson for the revenue commissioner said they had received thousands of calls from concerned pensioners in the immediate aftermath of the letters being delivered.

“Approximately 4,000 calls were handled in the South East region last Friday (January 6) and Saturday (January 7),” the spokesperson said. Figures for this week were unavailable.

Despite the thousands of calls dealt with by the revenue commissioners, Mr Holohan said he had tried more than 40 times to ring the Revenue help line but in every occasion it had been engaged.

See Page 3 for full report.