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Question: Do you want Ireland to maintain its current corporation tax regime?

Ireland’s low corporation tax is often examined in Europe. Here’s how the Dublin candidates feel about it.

In our audit of the Dublin European election candidates, we asked candidates to answer questions on nine of the most pressing issues facing Ireland and Europe in the coming years. 

Do you want Ireland to maintain its current corporation tax regime?

Gary Gannon 

I believe that the 12.5% corporate tax rate is an important component of Ireland’s economic growth, and should be maintained, but we in the Social Democrats do believe that we need to ensure our corporate tax is collected at the headline rate of 12.5%. For many companies who can use various tax loopholes and accounting devices, the effective rate is far, far fewer than this, and in some cases is even close to zero. A very bright light is being shone on the fact that Ireland’s tax regime effectively enables companies to use Ireland as a conduit tax haven.

It is very clear that both the European Parliament and the US Senate are no longer willing to accept this. If we are to succeed in maintaining our 12.5% rate, then we need to end these practices which damage our reputation and damage tax revenues not just in Ireland but in other countries. In order to ensure our economy is sustainable and future-proofed, we also need to focus on creating a more robust indigenous business environment.

Our current economic growth model is heavily reliant on increases in corporation tax receipts, and given the major global challenges we are facing, we need to ensure we also have a thriving domestic economy to guard against these potential shocks.

Rita Harrold 

Turning Ireland into a tax haven for big business has failed to develop an environmentally sustainable, wealth-producing manufacturing base. Corporation tax should be doubled. Wealth and profits should be taxed to fund a massive expansion of public services, from childcare to healthcare to education, as part of an approach of ensuring that the wealth and resources of society are used for people’s needs not profits.

Alex White

I want to reform how we tax corporations – in particular I want to see them actually pay the current rate of 12.5%.

Today, global corporations, in particular, can reduce their tax liability, in many cases to absurdly low amounts.

Let’s face it, internationally Ireland has a reputation for tolerating this type of behaviour – that needs to change.  Corporations need to pay their fair share. 

Tax revenue goes to invest in schools, universities and public infrastructure – these are just as important to our economic prosperity as the tax rate, but they need to be funded and business needs to pay its share.
The Labour Party also supports an EU-wide digital tax and financial transaction tax.

Lynn Boylan

There are three issues here – tax sovereignty, tax fairness and tax evasion. I support the right of the Irish state to set its own corporate tax rate and to determine and administer its own taxation system and will oppose any attempt to remove our veto in the Council on taxation. I want to see a fair and progressive tax system in Ireland including ending absurd corporation tax breaks for booming banks.

It is outrageous that AIB made €1,250,000,000 profit last year and they’re not paying a penny corporation tax.

We also need to deal with tax evasion and avoidance. The Irish government need to end its position of blocking public country-by-country reporting for the largest multinational corporations in the Council and should fully implement the agreed EU-wide initiatives to increase transparency and tackle tax avoidance. The Irish government should also stop its futile appeal on the sweetheart tax deals granted by Revenue to Apple.

Mark Mullen

mark mullan for europe

In principle, I agree. We need to maintain our competitiveness, especially when other EU countries are also striking such deals. It’s great to have multinationals in Ireland. However, many aren’t paying tax in Ireland or other EU countries.

There needs to be proper compliance and all money owed must be paid to the State. They must have social responsibility and be held accountable. That money is badly needed and they should be contributing to health, housing and education. We deserve to see more benefit from their presence.

Frances Fitzgerald 

Absolutely. However we are currently working on global tax reform as prepared by the OECD. This is the correct forum for a discussion on tax matters and I look forward the outcomes of those discussions.

Alice Mary Higgins 

I believe that Ireland should retain sovereignty over our tax rate but I also believe our tax policies need to be far more transparent and equitable.

We should have a minimum effective tax rate and address loopholes that allow companies, including banks and investment vehicles, to substantially reduce their tax bills or avoid tax altogether.

We should also link the knowledge box tax relief to national research or development targets and outcomes.

We should also support country by country reporting.

While Ireland does engage with the OECD on BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting), we are not doing enough to tackle these issues or deal with transfer pricing.  Tax avoidance cause great damage to developing countries and makes it harder for them to achieve the sustainable development goals. I also support an international Financial Transaction Tax.

Clare Daly 

I support an end to beggar-thy-neighbour tax policies and the facilitation by Ireland of grand scale tax avoidance by multinationals who count their profits in the tens of billions. Ireland has to stop depending on its corporate tax rate as a cash crop – when the crop fails, as it inevitably will, it will cause a massive shock to the system. We’ve had enough warnings – it’s well past time to start phasing out our reliance on facilitating tax avoidance by multinationals and to come up with a real and sustainable economic policy that contributes to the real economy rather than the leprechaun one of profit shifting and tax loopholes.

With moves at the EU and elsewhere in terms of corporation tax picking up steam it’s clear that the end of the line is in sight for Ireland as a tax haven – we have to deal with that and move on. It’s both the right thing to do and the necessary thing to do.

Ciarán Cuffe

Source: Claire Behan

Look, I think we will probably move towards harmonisation but I think it is important that Ireland’s peripherality is protected and that there is full transparency on what taxes are paid and what rates are given in other countries. We’re pretty clear about what goes on in Ireland but we need the same level of transparency in France and other countries.

Mark Durkan

Well, I fully support tax sovereignty for the member states.

So, that means Ireland should have responsibility for its own corporation tax but I am fully committed to tax reform through what’s called the Best Process under the OECD and that was something that I was champion of when I was in Westminster as well.

So there should be tax reforms to ensure that there is more transparency in relation to tax in all states but those reforms need to respect tax sovereignty and the EU needs to respect tax sovereignty as well.

Barry Andrews

Ireland’s corporate tax rate is the cornerstone of our Foreign Direct Investment Strategy. I will oppose any erosion of Member states veto on these matters and I will strongly advocate for the continuation of national tax sovereignty.

About the author:

Kathleen McNamee

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