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Working (quasi-)legally

An Irish tax number

September 2001 —

Having been in Ireland since the middle of June, I got a job in a Kilkenny* restaurant doing washup for five Irish pounds per hour, cash in a weekly brown envelope.

After a few paydays, the chef asked me to get a tax number.

I said that I would — meaning in reality that I would go to the social-welfare office and ask. As an American citizen I was not entitled, so I just figured I'd return to the chef and say that I had tried.

I'd already been working illegally for more than a year in Holland, Spain, and Ireland — and there were plenty of jobs in Ireland at that time; so I wasn't worried. I just had to play along.

I went to the social-welfare office. The lady at reception photocopied my passport and asked me to complete a document.

After a couple of weeks, I received in the post a social-services card — the physical manifestation of my PPS number*... my Irish tax number.

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*The PPS number, the Personal Public Service number, is an Irish resident's unique identifying set of digits and letters that is applicable in all of one's business with the government. It's a tax number, for example, and social-welfare number.

Until 1998, the PPS number was known as the PRSI number; the Personal Revenue and Social Insurance number.

  ↑ Return to "... asked me if I had a tax number" ...

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*On September 11th, 2001, I took a bus from Galway, where I'd been for a couple of weeks, to Kilkenny. I found work two days later, met some people, got a place to live, and lived in the inland city for most of the time that I was in Ireland.

  ↑ Return to "job in a Kilkenny restaurant" ...