The Department of Finance has said a briefing document prepared earlier this year outlining the likely impact of abolishing the Universal Social Charge is no longer relevant.

The document, released to Sinn Fáin, explores alternative ways of raising revenue if the USCwas abolished or phased out, including the possibility of raising the Local Property Tax by 600%.

The USC, which was introduced as a revenue raising measure in January 2011, collects around €4bn a year.

However, last February, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said Fine Gael planned to abolish USC by 2020.

The document, obtained by Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty, shows alternative ways of raising revenue if the charge was phased out or scrapped.

It says that if USC was abolished immediately one of the options would be to raise property tax by 600%.

Another option would be to increase indirect taxes, which could see the cost of petrol and diesel rise by 18c per litre, while a pint of beer would be up by €1.50.

Alternatively, there could be a rise in income taxes by 5%.

The document also says that the USC could be phased out over time, using the available fiscal space.

The USC replaced two existing levies: the Income levy and the Health levy.

The €4bn a year it currently raises is around one-fifth of the total income tax take.

The briefing document says that many people view the charge as a 'recession tax'.

It also acknowledges that there are calls for it to be repealed or for the burden of the charge on low and middle income earners to be reduced.

If there was an immediate abolition to USC, the document says that one of the options would be to take into account advice from the OECD, that raising revenue through property taxes would be the least harmful to economic growth.

The Department of Finance this morning said: "A 600% increase to the property tax is an illustrative example only.

"The examples provided in the papers show the magnitude of the changes that could be made to recoup taxes foregone as the USC is reduced further but some of the examples while arithmetically sound and serve their purpose as illustrative examples do not take account of other Programme for a Partnership Government commitments such as the intention to retain the 'highly successful 9% VAT rate on tourism related services."

It added: "The Summer Economic Statement makes it clear that there is about €1bn of fiscal space for Budget 2017, the Programme for a Partnership Government commits that a third of that can be used for tax cuts and so the burden on taxpayers can be reduced by about €330m in the upcoming budget while still increasing the level of important public services that are delivered."

Mr Doherty said abolishing USC will be of little use to those on low incomes and will provide the greatest benefit to those on the highest incomes.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Doherty said the alternatives to make up the shortfall, should USC be abolished, were "shocking".

He said the indirect taxes would place a greater burden on those who earn less.

"All of those are areas that would actually put additional tax burdens on the lower and middle income earners with indirect taxes, by example, increasing petrol and diesel by 18 cent or increasing beer by €1.50 a pint or getting rid of the 9% tourism related VAT. Or indeed the other option, which is introducing VAT on children's shoes and all other zero rated items by increasing it by 5%," he added.

However, Fine Gael TD Noel Rock has said Mr Doherty's claims are "disingenuous nonsense designed to grab a quick, cheap headline at the expense of reality".