Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Financial Resolution No. 4: Corporation Tax
Yes, but only briefly. I thank the Minister, Deputy O'Gorman, for that explanation, which satisfies me in respect of Financial Resolution No. 4.
I will make a brief point in response to what the Tánaiste has said. I refer to the idea that loopholes are just found by very smart lawyers and then are very quickly closed by the Government, as it moves to stop any kind of tax avoidance. That is patently ridiculous and is not what happens. That is like the Cayman Islands claiming to have slipped and fallen, and then accidentally having become a tax haven.
The loopholes are created. We have a budget today which has measures extending a very definite loophole, namely, the knowledge development box. That is what that initiative is; it is a loophole for corporations to avoid and minimise their taxation. That is a fact, and the double Irish was similarly created. It is clearly part of the unfortunate developmental model being pursued by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to position Ireland in a particular role in a chain of global tax avoidance. It is not the Cayman Islands, it is something different, but Ireland very definitely plays a role in major multinational corporations minimising, to an extreme degree, the amount of tax that they pay. In the process, those corporations are robbing not just the people in this country but people around the world, including those in some of the poorest countries on the planet.
That is not an accident but a conscious policy being pursued by the Government. The Tánaiste is correct in stating that that is a policy that a Government of the left would bring to an end. Such a Government would also insist, at a minimum, that the corporations pay the taxes that they are supposed to and, yes, it would increase the amount of tax paid by those multinational corporations, rather than hitting ordinary people. The Tánaiste thinks that is a political choice that just cannot be made and that is crazy. He thinks it is, however, okay to cut the PUP. He does not think there is a problem with doing that, but he does think that it is impossible to go after the corporations and the massive profits that they make.