Order of Business: Corporate Tax

28.05.2013

Read the full debate here

Senator Zappone:

I have a question for the Leader on reform but not Seanad reform, as I have made my views very clear on that, or Dáil reform, although we await to hear what the Government is up to in that regard. No doubt we will have a long debate to see whether the people will be promised sufficient Dáil reform to ensure proper governance of the country, including an adequate dispersal of power from the Executive. My question is about taxation reform. I know colleagues are aware of the series of events that have brought the issue of tax avoidance, reform of global tax structure and Ireland's place within it back into the news. Ireland's name has been thrust into the debate on tax avoidance at the G8, with our tax arrangements being singled out by US and UK legislators.

There is massive public confusion on this issue, in particular since the US Senate sub-committee hearings on Apple's tax practices. It testified that it claimed a special deal with us, which the Government rebutted. The video-conferencing over the Atlantic Ocean still has not cleared up these issues. One of my primary concerns, although not my sole concern, relates to the double Irish structure which allows a multinational to incorporate a company here but to ensure its tax residence is elsewhere. That is as clear as I can be in that regard. Is this a shadowy facilitation of tax avoidance for multinationals by Ireland?

Are we investment friendly with our claimed corporate tax rate of 12.5% or are we a tax haven? Will the Government disband the double-Irish tax structure soon, as some of the Sunday newspapers have claimed? We need to know the answers to these questions. We need a public debate that outlines clearly what is going on. I am coming to my question. It is clear from the UK, the USA and Australia that momentum is building for some kind of reform of global tax arrangements. The British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, MP, has pledged to put this reform on the G8 schedule. There will be an action plan presented at the G8 summit mapping out a path to closing loopholes and combating large-scale tax avoidance. Will the Leader invite the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation or the Minister for Finance to come to the House prior to the G8 summit in mid-June to debate with us and clarify how Ireland will respond?

 

Financial Justice
Financial Justice
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