Pen­sions ‘should not be sub­ject to in­come tax’

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

The Na­tional Coun­cil for the El­derly has made a num­ber of pro­pos­als for the up­com­ing bud­get, in­clud­ing that no in­come tax should be paid on pen­sions.

One sit­u­a­tion that needs to be ad­dressed is that of mar­ried women whose hus­band re­fuses to share their re­tire­ment pen­sion, the Coun­cil ex­plains. This goes against the le­gal pro­vi­sions of fam­ily law and the Com­mu­nity of Ac­quests. The Coun­cil pro­poses that, when a spe­cific re­quest is made by one mem­ber of the cou­ple, the cheque should be di­vided in two and two cheques of equal value then is­sued, one to the man and the other to the woman.”

The Coun­cil has also re­ferred to the sur­vivor’s pen­sion. It said that ev­ery widow or wid­ower who re­ceives a pen­sion in re­spect of their de­ceased spouse should con­tinue to re­ceive it, even af­ter they re­tire, ir­re­spec­tive of whether or not they are el­i­gi­ble for a pen­sion.

Pen­sion con­tri­bu­tions in the form of a credit are paid for child-rear­ing, the Coun­cil said, adding that a sim­i­lar sys­tem should be ap­ply for a spe­cific pe­riod to those who are not work­ing in or­der to care for their par­ents, chil­dren or part­ners who are de­pen­dent on them.

The Coun­cil also pro­poses that no in­come tax should be paid on pen­sion in­come, ir­re­spec­tive of whether the per­son is sin­gle or mar­ried.

Apart from pen­sions, the Coun­cil also spoke about ac­tive age­ing. It pro­poses that ac­tive age­ing be pro­moted in the pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion by giv­ing those who reach re­tire­ment age the op­por­tu­nity of con­tin­u­ing – or re­turn­ing – to work in the pub­lic sec­tor by of­fer­ing them part-time po­si­tions on a def­i­nite con­tract.

It also pro­poses that the ETC cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties for el­derly peo­ple who would like to con­tinue work­ing.

The Coun­cil wants Day Cen­tres to de­velop ac­tiv­i­ties with the full par­tic­i­pa­tion of the el­derly them­selves and where homes for the el­derly are con­cerned, it wants the ex­ist­ing ones to be re­fur­bished, and more of them opened so that res­i­dents can live in homes close to the ar­eas in which they have al­ways lived. An­other ma­jor prob­lem high­lighted by the Coun­cil was that peo­ple liv­ing in homes for the el­derly of­ten do not have suf­fi­cient in­ter­est­ing and/or en­joy­able ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the day.

It also pro­poses a num­ber of other points, in­clud­ing in­creas­ing the num­ber of bus shel­ters around the is­land, keep­ing pave­ments in good re­pair and the pro­vi­sion – free of charge – of med­i­ca­tion for health prob­lems to which the el­derly are par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble.

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