I’ve been following The Pin for a long time now and one thing that I haven’t noticed a lot of, or maybe I’ve just missed it, but there hasn’t been a lot of discussion here, and definitely not in the media, about the large number of tax reliefs that appear to be designed purely to facilitate tax evasion.
Fianna Fail seemed to specialise in this. The introduced a lot of tax reliefs with no purpose other than enabling their rich friends and themselves to reduce their tax liabilities.
As far as I can recall, back in 2004, Joan Burton stated that the Exchequer was losing over EUR8bn per year, to about 30 legal tax avoidance loopholes.
And on top of that, Revenue were unable to give any estimate of the cost of 30 other reliefs, which are generally available only to the well-off, e.g. countless property reliefs, stallion fees, donations to third level institutions and income from foreign trusts. The property tax reliefs for the Shannon corridor were particularly damaging, in every sense.
I know those figures are from the height of the bubble, but as recently as 2009 TASC estimated that tax breaks cost the State approximately €7.4 billion.
tascnet.ie/upload/file/TASC% … 0FINAL.pdf
There was a lot of talk from governments about ending tax breaks, but as far as I could make out, most were extended rather than being ceased. And I know that the government introduced a “minimum” tax rate of 20% for all individuals, but people have been able to avoid this using other loopholes. I don’t believe for one minute that these loopholes are accidents.
During the bubble, we must have foregone tens of billions in tax reliefs, some worthwhile but the vast majority of that money would have benefitted specific individuals.
Maybe I’m over-simplifying, but amidst all the talk of reducing the pubic pay bill, reducing spending, increasing taxes, introducing new levys & charges, etc., the spurious tax reliefs remain untouched.
Research carried out by Nick Webb for Sunday Independent, in March this year, established that the Net assets of the top 300 Irish citizens had increased by 4.9 Billion Euro in the year 2011 and by 12 billion in the past two years, to a new high level of 62 Billion! I think he even identified the 300 individuals concerned. Those who have gone “bust” or have much reduced wealth have been replaced by 44 new entrants. Wealth has not disappeared but some has moved between asset holders.
independent.ie/business/iris … 46429.html
How much/little tax did these individuals pay.
Maybe I’m just a little naïve?
(Apologies for the lack of links, just ranting here)