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Ireland needs to increase its tax take by €3 billion to have a fair and equal society, report says

In a new book, Social Justice Ireland makes the case for a higher tax take for standards the Irish people “expect and deserve”.

Image: Shutterstock/Vladyslav Starozhylov

RAISING AN ADDITIONAL €3 billion in tax revenue a year would fund a fair, equal and progressive future for Ireland according to a new book published today by Social Justice Ireland.

This is necessary to keep the public finances safe through uncertain economic times, fund decent public services, upgrade the aging national infrastructure and to ensure Ireland becomes fairer and more equal in the future, Social Justice Matters:2018 guide to a fairer society argues.

The book says that Ireland must ask itself “where do we want to go as a society, and what do we need to do in order to get there?”.

It calls the government’s Ireland 2040 plan “the first coherent attempt in well over a decade to develop a long-term integrated plan to deliver to deliver the social infrastructure and public services that Irish people [...] expect and deserve” but that it also lacks “sufficient detail about the standard living that can be expected in 2040″.

In order to provide a fairer society, then, a number of measures must be taken to increase the overall tax-take, broaden the tax base and develop a fairer taxation system.

Such measures would include increasing the minimum effective tax rates on very high earners, a minimum effective corporate tax rate of 10%, a financial transaction tax and eco-taxes.

Social Justice Ireland said in a statement: “Tax is a dirty word in Ireland. The legitimacy of Ireland’s tax system is at stake as the richest entities in the world use it to pay lower tax bills.

Raising taxes or creating new taxes is politically toxic, even if it is to fund vital and ageing public infrastructure; while cutting taxes is a popular political tool, often used in the run up to elections and nearly always regressive in nature. The problem with this is that Ireland needs more tax revenue, not less.

Other measures it suggests include poverty-proofing all budget tax packages so that tax changes do not further widen the gap between those on low incomes and those better off, and changing tax credits to allow those on minimum wage to fall outside the tax net.

Social Justice Ireland CEO Seán Healy said: “We want to chart a course to a better Ireland, that is what this book is about. At the foundation of that is how we raise taxes and how much tax we raise.

We are a low revenue economy, yet we are one of the richest countries in the world. It should be a priority to find those additional resources, not to squander the resources we have.

You can read Social Justice Matters: 2018 guide to a fairer society here.

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Sean Murray

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