We all knew #AppleTax was coming, so why did Government not have answers ready?
Posted on September 04, 2016 at 01:05 PM
In today's Mail on Sunday our Party Leader Brendan Howlin has a piece on his reaction to the Government not being prepeared for Apple Tax and why we need to close more tax loopholes.
Kids went back to school this week. But not by accident.
Over the last few weeks, parents have been buying schoolbags and uniforms, and bracing themselves for an emotional day if they have kids starting school for the first time. Teachers have been getting ideas and lesson plans ready to start inspiring the next generation. Parents, teachers and kids themselves have been getting ready.
For reasons I can’t understand, our Government wasn’t able to get itself ready for an even bigger day - the day that the EU decided Apple owed us €19bn.
We all knew this day was coming. When I was in Government, we had regular meetings about it, and we met with people in Brussels to try to persuade them that we are responsible for our own tax affairs. Michael Noonan was ready on Tuesday to say the decision should be appealed, but he didn’t even have a Government agreement on that.
He should have been ready to do much more. He should have been ready explain that we have done a lot of work on closing down tax loopholes over recent years. In part because of these changes, the tax we took in from companies rose from €4.6bn in 2014 to €6.9bn in 2015.
He should have been ready to explain to the Irish people that the EU has been trying to get control over our tax rates for years, because big countries don’t like it when little countries like Ireland use lower tax rates to entice companies to come here to invest and create jobs.
And he should have been ready to say that our work on tax fairness is nowhere near done.
Instead, it took until Friday for the Government to agree that what the EU has tried to do should be appealed. It took until Friday for the Taoiseach to even speak on the matter. And in the motion they will propose in the Dáil next week, they still haven’t figured out that tax justice is an important principle that the Irish people support.
Next week, Labour will be demanding that we do much more than appeal this decision. We’ll be arguing that there are more loopholes in our tax laws that need to be shut down so that every company pays a fair share. For example, the loopholes in section 110 of our 1997 Taxes Act are used by vulture funds that now own our distressed loans, leases and mortgages. Some of these vulture funds are even using registered charitable status to help them offshore their profits!
And we’ll be saying that the Budget needs to include ways of capturing a fair share from every company - the 12.5% corporation tax rate should mean just that, and there should be no tolerance of loopholes that allow companies to avoid paying that minimal rate of tax. 12.5% should be 12.5%.
Most of the Government missed the first few days of school this week. They’ll need to catch up on what they missed next week.
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