Department of Finance warned number of jobs being supported by lucrative tax relief scheme for highly paid executives had “fallen sharply”

The number of jobs being supported through a lucrative tax relief scheme for highly paid multinational executives has “fallen sharply” according to an internal briefing for the finance minister.

The cost to the taxpayer had also more than trebled to €73,000 for each job that was being supported, which was described by officials as a “cause for concern”.

The submission – prepared for Minister Paschal Donohoe last autumn – said the cost per job through the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) had been just €23,000 in 2017, or less than a third of the rate in 2018.

Making comparisons with figures from years prior to that were “even less flattering” according to the Department of Finance document, which was released under FOI.

The scheme allows generous tax relief for executives moving to Ireland and was at one stage being used for aggressive “advanced tax planning” by some companies.

Eighteen people earning between €1 and €10 million had benefitted from the scheme in a single year, which lead to the introduction of a €1 million income cap in 2019.