Friday 17 November 2017

'There will always be tax loopholes' - Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Frank McGrath
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Frank McGrath
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Loopholes in the tax system will always exist because trying to stay ahead of "smart tax lawyers" is a "game of cat and mouse", Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Responding to the revelations in the Paradise Papers, the Taoiseach denied Ireland had done a "sweetheart deal" with technology giant Apple.

However, he said the Revenue Commissioners would examine the content of the papers.

"If further action is required against any person or company, it will be taken. It is important to point out that the Revenue Commissioners have been very active and effective in this area already," Mr Varadkar said.

"In the past couple of years alone, the Revenue Commissioners have collected €1bn from targeting offshore operations by companies."

The Taoiseach also argued that Ireland is one of just 22 countries in the world designated by the OECD as "entirely compliant with tax transparency".

He added: "There are very smart tax lawyers out there who go through legislation looking for loopholes to exploit. It is never going to be the case that there will be no loopholes. We must keep on closing them."

He was responding to Social Democrats' co-leader Róisín Shortall, who accused the Government of a "cop-out" on the issue by trying to claim tax avoidance is an international problem.

She questioned whether a capital allowance regime introduced last year was done so in order to help companies that previously registered themselves as stateless to continue cutting taxes.

She said that "the facilitation of Apple's tax arrangements by successive governments" had had a "considerably negative impact" on Ireland's reputation abroad.

Irish Independent

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