Tuesday 16 January 2018

Business leaders fear tax hike by new Government

FICC president Joanne Grant
FICC president Joanne Grant
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

More than three-quarters of Irish businesses fear that the new Government will hike corporation tax from its current low rate of 12.5pc, a new report has shown.

According to the France Ireland Chamber of Commerce (FICC) Business Owner Index, 77pc of Irish business owners are wary of an increase in the tax.

That's despite a commitment in the Programme for Government to retain the rate.

The survey of 150 members of the bilateral trade organisation also said over half of Irish businesses are doubtful of positive commercial change coming from the new minority Government.

FICC president Joanne Grant said only time will tell what effect the new coalition will have.

"Although there are concerns among business owners regarding the potential impact that the newly-appointed Government will have on Irish businesses, I think that its effectiveness can only be accurately judged once those in power are given the opportunity to lead and effect change," Ms Grant said.

The Government's Programme for Partnership, published this week, pledged to keep Ireland's tax rate competitive.

"We will maintain Ireland's 12.5pc corporation tax, and engage constructively with any measures to work towards international tax reform while critically analysing proposals that may not be in Ireland's long-term interests," the document reads.

The lack of confidence in the business community may stem from the time it took to form a new Government. According to the Index, 79pc found the lack of a definitive deadline to establish a new Government a real cause for concern.

However, despite concerns around the political uncertainty, many businesses reported a positive outlook on general trading.

Over half of those surveyed are expecting to recruit more staff over the summer period with 69pc anticipating revenue to increase over the next three months. The FICC is the third-largest bilateral trade association in Ireland with 150 member companies.

It counts Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, CRH, Smurfit Kappa, and Transdev among its members.

Irish Independent

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