Minister Naughton launches Tax Clinic for marginalised groups

(L-R) President of University of Galway Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh; Professor Emer Mulligan, Director of the clinic and Personal Professor in Taxation and Finance at University of Galway; Government Chief Whip and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton T.D.; Dr Maggie O’Neill, Tax Clinic Coordinator. Credit - Andrew Downes/Xposure
Nov 06 2023 Posted: 12:00 GMT

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Hildegarde Naughton T.D. has officially launched the University of Galway Tax Clinic. 

As the first programme of its kind in Ireland, the Tax Clinic stands as a ground-breaking endeavour - helping people from marginalised or under-represented sections of society to understand their entitlements, their tax rights and responsibilities and how to manage their own tax affairs. 

The Tax Clinic began in University of Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in 2020 as a pilot project for students. It has since expanded its services to the Greater Galway area through partnerships with two local organisations that cater to people requiring these services - COPE Galway and SCCUL Enterprises. To further expand the reach and enhance its impact, it has recently begun a collaboration with Focus Ireland.  

The Tax Clinic offers clients one-to-one, confidential consultations with tax student advisors, supervised by tax professionals, where they can get tailored support. 

The collaborative model has allowed the Tax Clinic to identify and respond to significant unmet needs for tax education across various community groups. It empowers taxation students and the people it supports, by providing personalised tax assistance and compliance guidance for people who traditionally may not have been able to access or afford it. 

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton T.D. said: “I was very happy to join the team for the launch of the University of Galway Tax Clinic. What makes the Tax Clinic truly remarkable is its commitment to expanding beyond the University's borders and reaching out to the wider community. By partnering with local organisations, they've bridged the gap and answered the call for assistance from citizens who require these valuable services. This is a significant step towards a more informed and empowered society. Congratulations to all involved.” 

President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “The launch of the Tax Clinic underscores our University's unwavering commitment to being an institution for the public good. This initiative which springs from our university community offers a vital resource for students and members of marginalised communities, ensuring that no one is left behind in navigating the complexities of taxation. By harnessing the collective expertise of our faculty and students, we aim to make a tangible, positive impact on the lives of our community, both on campus and across the region. Information is power and by sharing information, we reduce ‘the mystique of the technique’ and give more power to those without power. This is our role as educators and as a university for the public good.” 

Emer Mulligan, Director of the Tax Clinic and Personal Professor in Taxation and Finance at University of Galway, said: “The foundation of this clinic is rooted in justice, dedicated to assisting those who are under-represented. The clinic's primary focus is on tax education, aiming to aid individuals to manage their own tax affairs and understand their tax rights and responsibilities. Our overarching goal is to educate and assist marginalized citizens with their tax compliance in a setting that is both free and confidential. The Tax Clinic’s services have proven increasingly important amid financial instability for many, exacerbated by COVID-19 and rising costs of living. I am very grateful to have such an impressive group of tax students and professional advisors giving their time and expertise on a pro bono basis to make this initiative possible.” 

The Tax Clinic offers assistance across a range of areas, including: 

  • Information on tax credits, e.g., tuition fees, flat rate allowances, medical expenses, Single Parent Child Carer Credit, Home Carer Credit, rent tax credit, and others 
  • Information on tax owed/due to those have become unemployed recently 
  • Information on how the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) is taxed  
  • How people who have recently moved to Ireland can get their Irish tax affairs in order 
  • How people emigrating for work can get their Irish tax affairs in order before leaving 
  • Information on the tax implications of having multiple jobs 

The event was hosted in partnership with the Galway Chamber of Commerce and University of Galway MBA Programme under the theme of Taxpayer Rights in a Digital World: How Tax Clinics Contribute to Justice and Fairness and included the launch of an accompanying report Enabling Tax Literacy and Empowerment

The event featured a keynote address by Nina E. Olson, a globally recognised expert in taxpayer rights from the US. 


Marketing and Communications Office


Featured Stories