Friday 20 October 2017

Brand Ireland sailing dangerously close to wind – now more than ever we need Plan B

Employees cheer as Apple opens a new store in Tokyo, Japan
Employees cheer as Apple opens a new store in Tokyo, Japan

Is Ireland a tax haven, as critics of our corporate tax arrangements allege? That was never our intention – the laws were designed to attract inward investment and create jobs. But in the court of international opinion, we're sailing dangerously close to the wind.

And there has been collateral damage to our reputation. Corporate tax avoidance is currently under the international spotlight, as is Brand Ireland because of the multinational-friendly tax regime we operate. The tax system doesn't set out to treat everyone equally – its purpose, after all, is to take more from those with more to give. Except some of the global Goliaths have subverted that principle.

With them, the bigger you are the less you contribute. Especially if you employ a phalanx of accountants and lawyers to scour tax legislation for escape clauses. The minuscule tax bills paid by whopper companies with no frontiers, such as Apple, show how lucrative that plan can be.

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