Thursday 30 March 2017

EU a worse threat to our tax than Trump

Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Donal O'Donovan and Niall O'Connor

The country is now facing a bruising battle on three fronts to defend our low corporation tax rate.

Our strategy of boosting jobs by acting as a low tax base is facing an unprecedented combination of threats - from the new US president Donal Trump, Brexit and the EU.

Brussels' top economic official has told the Irish Independent that "tax sovereignty" will ultimately be vested at EU level.

US president-elect Donald Trump has already vowed to ship jobs and tax income back to America during his presidency. Now his senior economic adviser Stephen Moore has emphasised this will happen in his first 100 to 150 days in office.

Along with the fallout from Brexit, EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the EU is the correct venue to set tax policy.

"We are in a new world where people want transparency and want the multinationals to pay their fair share of tax where they take profits," he said.

"We are really, I think, not trying to act against national tax sovereignty, but to create a European sovereignty."

The Commissioner is one of the EU's most powerful officials and, if he is successful and tax authority shifts from Dublin to Brussels, it will end Ireland's controversial but legally protected ability to use independent tax powers to attract US multinationals to set up here.

Major changes at EU level need support from all member states, but Ireland has historically relied on Britain - which is leaving the EU.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Britain is weighing up becoming an "associate" member of the North American Free Trade Area.

Irish Independent

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