THE TOPIC OF tax will be on the agenda when the Taoiseach speaks to the European Council today.
Enda Kenny is journeying to Brussels for the European Council meeting, where the agenda will focus on energy in the context of the EU’s efforts to promote competitiveness, growth and jobs.
The leaders will also discuss tax policy, with a particular focus on how to improve the efficiency of tax collection and how best to tackle tax evasion and fraud.
In a statement, Kenny said:
Quite simply put, this is an issue of fairness – we cannot on the one hand be cutting expenditure and consolidating our fiscal positions, while at the same time seeing some engaged in tax evasion and fraud.
He said he shares the perspective of President Van Rompuy “that it is important that we now seize the current political momentum – at EU and international levels – to improve the efficiency of our tax policies”.
Kenny said that retaining the right of EU member states to decide taxation rules and levels “allows them to take account of their differing positions in the economic and business cycle”.
He added that there is a great deal that can and ought to be done about combating tax evasion and fraud.
The meeting comes a day after technology giant apple was accused of using Ireland as a tax haven by a US Senate subcommittee.
Previously, the UK parliament’s Public Accounts Committee accused Google of ‘devious’ use of Ireland’s corporate tax regulations in order to reduce its tax bill in Britain.
Apple negotiated a special two per cent tax rate – less than the State’s rate of 12.5 per cent for companies – in Ireland, according to the Senate investigation.
The company is not accused of doing anything illegal, and a statement denied using ‘tax gimmicks’.
The Revenue and Finance Department also denied a special tax deal was negotiated with Apple.