Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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86. To ask the Minister for Finance if he will introduce a digital tax on the profits of social media companies to fund the replacement of the current TV licence fee and provide the funding necessary to safeguard the future of public service broadcasting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28563/24]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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As has been stated on numerous occasions, this Government is committed to the reform of the TV licence. A long-term funding is model is needed, to deliver effective reform and ensure that a secure, sustainable funding model is put in place for our public service media.

Government is committed to the introduction of a new sustainable and fair funding model during its term of office. Following consideration of the report of the Future of Media Commission in 2022, Government decided not to accept its recommendation to replace the TV licence model with direct Exchequer funding of Public Service Media. Instead, Government decided to reform and enhance the existing funding model, thereby maintaining the link between public service content providers and the public, retaining and building on the existing annual revenue, and guaranteeing the continued independence of the broadcasting sector

The events regarding RTÉ last year paused a decision on the future direction of media funding. Since then, two independent reviews into RTÉ have been completed, carried out by Expert Advisory Committees appointed by Government, and the reports have recently been published. As Minister Martin has stated, discussions on the matter are continuing and a final decision on this matter will be made prior to the Dáil summer recess.

It would not be appropriate for me to comment further until the Government has completed its consideration of the matter.

Regarding a digital tax on the profits of social media companies, the Deputy will be aware that in 2018 the European Commission proposed a digital services tax based on a €750 million global revenue threshold and an EU-wide €50 million revenue from in-scope services threshold. This proposal was received negatively. Subsequently, negotiations by the OECD and the G20 on reforms to the international system of taxation led to the OECD Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising from the Digitalisation of the Economy in October 2021.

I note that Pillar One of the OECD Agreement provides for the standstill and removal of unilateral measures such as digital services taxes. It is important that any proposal for additional taxation avoids raising trade tensions and does not undermine the ongoing development and implementation of the OECD agreement. I believe that a global approach is preferable to unilateral measures like a targeted tax on social media companies.

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