Calls for consultation on tax law changes
Changes to tax legislation should be published in advance of the Finance Bill, Irish Tax Institute president Marie Bradley told the body's annual dinner last week.
She said that, aside from sensitive legislation, it was important that changes affecting Irish taxpayers be carefully considered to avoid unintended consequences. She also told institute members that transparency was critical to the success of tax collection and that required debate.
"We believe that tax legislation should be published for consultation in advance of the Finance Bill," she said. "This could be done on an issue-by-issue basis throughout the year, like the way consultation already takes place on important policy matters."
"Consider the consultation process in relation to international tax policy changes. The consultation was welcomed by stakeholders and it was beneficial for all parties. We need to build on that experience, and we need to ensure that legislation impacting our indigenous sector receives the same attention," she added.
She suggested that there should be a steady flow of law scrutinised throughout the year that would then be incorporated into the Finance Bill. "This greater scope for discussion would reduce the risk of the policy objective not being achieved or of unintended consequences arising. The effective enactment of innovative tax policy requires legislative exactitude. That is best achieved by better consideration."
She also called for better balance between Revenue powers and taxpayer rights.
"The assurance for every taxpayer that they are treated fairly, and that they are fully aware of and fully understand their rights are vital pillars which we believe will bolster our tax administration system and the regard in which it is held into the future. In essence the balance between taxpayers' rights and Revenue Commissioners' powers must be correct," she said.
The Institute pointed to taxpayer advocate models which already exist in the US, the UK and Australia.
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