Revenue has deferred the implementation of changes to the flat rate expenses (FRE) regime for a further year.

The deferral is to give the Minister for Finance more time to consider policy options outlined by the Tax Strategy Group (TSG) on the matter and for the impact of the pandemic on workers to ease.

The review, concluded in 2019, found that the basis for some existing flat rate expenses allowances was no longer valid, giving rise to the prospect that some workers could lose the benefit of them.

The review also highlighted that several aspects of the regime warranted consideration from a tax policy and legislative perspective.

To facilitate these considerations, Revenue deferred the implementation of its findings pending the outcome of a policy review by the Tax Strategy Group which was completed last year.

The TSG paper presented options for the minister and his department to consider, because the changes proposed in the review would result in an increased burden of tax on workers.

It said the timing of any proposed changes to the system of flat rate expenses for employees would require "careful consideration'" and the issue must be weighed against the present "unprecedented social and economic circumstances" caused by the pandemic.

"The paper noted that the position adopted last year [2020] remains relevant and valid in the context of any discussions on the policy issues associated with the tax treatment of employment expenses including the FRE regime," wrote Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe in a letter to Revenue chairman, Niall Cody, in December.

"Over the course of the last year, the pandemic continued to significantly disrupt the labour market."

"As such, the issue of the appropriate timing of the introduction of any policy changes to the FRE regime that may results in a reduction of income for a significant number of employees remains a matter for consideration at this time."

This position was considered by the Revenue chairman, who responded to Paschal Donohoe by letter on January 12.

"Bearing in mind that the pandemic continues to significantly disrupt the labour market, the question of the appropriate timing of the introduction of any policy changes to the FRE regime remains a matter for consideration at this time," said Mr Cody.

"With this in mind and given the prevailing circumstances outlined above, Revenue will defer the implementation of the findings of the review of the FRE regime to 1 January 2023, pending decisions by you and your Department on the policy options put forward by the TSG on various matters relating to employment expenses and the enactment of legislative changes in that area, if appropriate."