THE Revenue Commissioners refuses to reveal how many people earn more than €3m a year in order to protect their confidentiality.

It instead provides only a blanket figure for all those with pay in excess of €2m, and does not state how much more than that is taken home by high-wealth individuals each year.

The figures provided by
the Department of Finance show that 188 of the country's richest individuals declared their earnings as in excess of €2m.

However, there is no way of determining just how much each earns or who earns Ireland's highest salary.

The Department of Finance said: "Because of the Revenue Commissioners' obligation to observe confidentiality in relation to the taxation affairs of individual taxpayers and small groups of taxpayers, the breakdown by income bands… is not provided in relation to incomes exceeding €2m.

"[This is because there are] small numbers of income earners with incomes in excess of that level."

The figures are skewed by the fact that couples – if registered as married with the Revenue Commissioners – are treated as if they are a single person for tax purposes.

The figures also show that hundreds of thousands of people are earning significantly less than even the newly announced annual minimum wage.

The minimum wage, which was €17,542 a year, has since plummeted to €15,514 following changes made in the most recent government budget. The average industrial wage now works out at €33,433.

The figures show that 228,716 people have a gross income of less than €5,000, usually for part-time work, with a further 184,571 earning between that sum and €10,000.

By far, the largest group of people fell into the earning category of between €20,000 and €30,000, with 408,875 people listed in that salary range.

In terms of what might be considered very high earners, 608 lucky – or perhaps extremely hard-working – people have household salaries of between €1m and €2m. Just 188 people earn in excess of that.