Ireland in dark over impact of EU tax plans

The European Commission must conduct an impact assessment on the implications of its corporate tax proposals before it proceeds to the next legislative stage, Brian Hayes has said.

The Fine Gael MEP said it was unacceptable that the commission had not provided any assessment of how much its proposals for a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) would cut annual Irish corporate tax revenues.

The commission is pressing ahead with plans to introduce a CCCTB during this European parliament. Pierre Moscovici, the commissioner for economic and financial affairs, has said that a CCCTB would make it easier to do business in the EU because it would harmonise the rules for how corporate taxes are calculated.

The Irish government is opposed to the proposal on the basis that it favours larger member states. If the CCCTB was introduced, then companies would pay taxes on their profits according to where most of their sales take place.

Michael McGrath, the Fianna Fail finance spokesman, said yesterday that data highlighting the concentration of corporation tax receipts from a small number of multinational groups in Ireland raised significant issues for the sustainability of the public finances and industrial policy.

Data released to Mr McGrath shows that for 2016, the top ten multinational groups paid 40.2 per cent or €2.7 billion and the top 20 multinational groups paid 50.2 per cent or €3.69bn of all corporation tax.

Seamus Coffey, the chairman of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, told the Oireachtas finance committee last December that the introduction of the CCCTB could reduce annual Irish corporate tax receipts by 50 per cent.

Mr Hayes said that there was growing opposition to the commission’s corporate tax plans in the European Council, including among larger member states. “Nevertheless, the government must remain alert to this.”

Mr Hayes also said that there wasn’t sufficient support at a European Council level for President Macron’s plans for closer fiscal integration. Mr Macron received support for his proposal to create a eurozone finance minister and a eurozone treasury from Angela Merkel yesterday.

Mr Hayes said the priority should be on completing EU banking union and a capital markets union. He added that there was growing resistance to further fiscal integration from member states.