For the last two years since the Apple judgement and the publication of the Panama Papers, and other controversies, I have argued that Ireland needs a Standing Commission on Taxation.
If passed into law, it would look at case law judgements, issues arising from our membership of the EU and the OECD, the all too common controversies about the use of tax loopholes, and other international tax developments.
The key aim of the Bill is to tackle once and for all the emerging international view of Ireland as a tax haven.
It would also be charged with commissioning research and analysis, and advising the Minister. As part of this, it would promote tax equity, seek to protect the revenues of the State, facilitate enterprise while also simplifying the operation of the law and enhancing compliance.
It is my view that recent international studies can no longer be ignored or down played by the Government. As the recent Coffey Report shows, Ireland has made significant progress, but the growing view and recent academic studies that Ireland is a tax haven must be addressed definitively.
In our last two alternative budgets I have outlined concerns, echoed in the recent Public Accounts Committee report on corporation tax, about the need for reform and oversight. One of the first tasks of the Commission should be to look at those PAC recommendations.
“Nearly all of the key issues flagged in the Public Accounts Committee report have been raised by me in the Dáil in recent years, including the use of losses, and the high and growing cost of the R&D tax credit.
It is clear that we still have some way to go on tax transparency and justice. A Standing Commission on Taxation would be tasked with continually monitoring how our tax laws are being used, to examine loopholes, reliefs and avoidance structures on a rolling basis.
I firmly believe that we need a Commission now to examine matters like this that should be continually closely monitored and such a body would be ideally suited to examine these.
I have also been calling for the implementation of a minimum effective corporate tax rate to ensure that profitable companies in Ireland cannot use accounting tricks and tax losses from the property crash to avoid paying their fair share. Such a Standing Commission should be tasked with investigating this.”