Monday 20 November 2017

Vigilance call after Juncker taxation vow

MEP Hayes welcomes corporate tax pledge

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes Photo: Tom Burke
Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes Photo: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's commitment not to interfere with Ireland's corporate tax rate without the Government's consent has been cautiously welcomed.

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes said he was pleased to hear Mr Juncker's comments, but insisted Ireland should remain "vigilant" in the face of moves by Brussels to regularise corporate tax rates across the EU.

"No member state, big or small, can be railroaded into doing something not in their national interest. The Commission, as the defender of the treaties and ultimately the defender of smaller member states, cannot allow EU tax policy to be dictated by the big four," Mr Hayes told the Sunday Independent.

In an interview with the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Juncker insisted his tax harmonisation plans were not "anti-Irish". He also defended his proposal to introduce new EU voting rules that would strip smaller countries of the right to block changes to tax policies.

At a meeting of EU finance ministers in Estonia yesterday, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said Ireland has been at the forefront of international corporate tax reform and insisted the Government would not support anything that threatens our tax system or Irish jobs.

After the meeting, Mr Donohoe said Ireland has made "strong progress" on ensuring "companies are fairly taxed".

"Ireland will not be supporting any measures or proposals that undermine the very competitive and transparent corporate tax code we have in Ireland," he added.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath urged the Government to reject plans by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire to tax internet companies based on turnover rather than profits.

Mr McGrath said Ireland would be the "single biggest loser" if the French proposal was accepted and said it is "no coincidence" that bigger countries are supporting it.

"Any proposal that involves distributing turnover across member states for taxation purposes will inevitably result in the larger member states doing better, with small member states, like Ireland, losing out," Mr McGrath said.

Sunday Independent

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