New Executive should consider local tax rises but first it needs to tackle its low levels of trust..

David Gordon asks if it is time for an open conversation about the need to fund stretched public services, and bite the bullet hard: The vast majority of us value public services – the schools that educate our children, the hospitals that make us better, the roads and public transport systems that keep us moving in our daily lives. But just how much we are prepared to pay for them through taxation is seemingly a more complicated matter. Let’s take … Read more

EU countries clamping down on tax avoidance is creating problems for the Republic…

Last week started with Philip Hammond’s extraordinary  threat to the EU that he would turn the UK into a tax haven, a sort of “Caymans sur la Manche”, if you will. All because Michel Barnier and his fellow negotiators are unlikely to  give the UK what it wants, a free ride.  Mr. Hammond gave the Welt am Sonntag the ill advised interview, available here (in German), during a short trip to Germany to meet the former tax inspector and current … Read more

Why are [some] Irish politicians so reluctant to take Vestager’s €13 Billion and run?

So today should be interesting in Dublin. It should be a make your mind up day for the Irish Cabinet to decide on whether Ireland should, as a member state, challenge Tuesday’s ruling of European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager. It could fall in several ways. It may force the government to assemble a water tight argument on the politically embarrassing tax justice issues involved in launching an appeal, or perhaps defer the pain by looking to the court to seek clarification … Read more

Renua Ireland launches General Election manifesto

[One of] Ireland’s newest political party parties, Renua Ireland, launched its general election manifesto today, and revealed its 18 candidates. The RTÉ report focuses on the proposal for a flat rate of income tax at 23%, and the party leader Lucinda Creighton’s bid for the party as a future coalition partner. Ms Creighton claimed no party would have a clear-cut majority after the election and the question voters had to ask was “who would be their watchdog in government?”. She insisted … Read more

Should Northern Ireland follow Finland’s example and consider a universal basic income for all?

Anti poverty campaigners and economics geeks alike have reason to be cheerful this week with the news that Finland is to carry out a trial of a basic income. A basic income, in its purest sense, is a non means-tested payment to all citizens regardless of income or wealth which replaces existing benefits such as unemployment benefit. The Finnish trial, which has been developed at the behest of new centre-right Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and is supported across the political … Read more

Budget 2016 – An opportunity to ease the burden on squeezed classes

In the second of our pre-budget series Longford based Independent Barbara Smyth outlines the measures she would like to see implemented to improve the lot of families and those struggling to cope. Continuous austerity budgets have seen the most vulnerable people in our society having to accept being the ones who suffered the most. Working families who have always paid their taxes, mortgages, bills and contributed most to our economy have seen their disposable income vanish. Child poverty increased while … Read more

Budget 2016- Simple changes could make a big difference to families

Louise Bayliss is a mother and works with the SPARK campaign and Equality Budgeting Campaign. In the first of our new series looking at what Budget 2016 should do, she outlines exactly what Minister Noonan needs to address in order to meet the needs of many struggling families. In Budget 2012, Minister Burton, as Minister for Social Protection, announced wide ranging reforms to the One Parent Family Payment. These changes have now been fully implemented and the effect on the … Read more

An update on Apple’s tax problems – The curious case of the 5 billion the Irish Government does not really want…

I previously wrote a short piece on the Apple story. But Brian suggested a follow up and I think it needs further development, based on stories elsewhere. Rod Hall, a senior analyst with JP Morgan, and a bit of a tech celebrity, thinks that the possible tax hit is not a problem. He is talking about a hit of $19,000M OR €17,000M.  Unfortunately, as my millions are not minded by JP Morgan, I don’t get a copy of his musings … Read more

An Apple a day, keeps the tax man away. Unwanted windfall gains for the Irish Government?

The Apple story has reappeared, like Granny’s reheated tart. The Irish Times reports here that Apple have said that a direction to pay additional taxes due to Ireland would be “material”. The story is also covered in the Financial Times (€) here. The two pieces are based on a quarterly stock exchange filing by Apple, which can be openly accessed here . The relevant comment, causing the controversy is, “On June 11, 2014, the European Commission issued an opening decision … Read more

Boost the economy and improve income distribution by cutting VAT not taxes

Dr. Micheál Collins of the Nevin Economic Research Institute and a former member of the 3rd Commission on Taxation,  report available here, has produced a number of interesting papers on the (broader) tax burden. He is trying to widen the discussion to include indirect taxes, such as VAT & Excise. Or as Jimmy Crowley  sang in the Cork anti-conscription song, Salonika,  “they tax the pound of butter, they tax the h’penny bun”. Micheál has produced a number of papers, Total … Read more

The Lady, the Pope and the Dwarf; the surprising history of why the UK tax year starts on 6 April

On this day in 1753, many honest, upright citizens of England and the British Empire began paying the taxes for the previous year. Such taxes were due on New Year’s Day (or the day after, the story is confused), and these worthies had refused, for 11 days, to pay up. How so? Prior to 1753, the legal year in England and beyond began on 25 March which they called ‘Lady Day’. This is the Feast of the Annunciation, when the … Read more

Motoring could become more expensive for NI motorists

Slugger has had a number of excellent articles this year on transport especially in Belfast with the new bus lanes etc. Largely un-noticed, however, has been one seemingly unimportant event which may have significant relevance for many of Northern Ireland’s drivers. Clearly the recent reduction in the price of fuel is welcomed by many / most. However, despite the fall in price it must be remembered that most of the cost of fuel is tax and that tax might be … Read more

Giro-drop Gerry? A resident less ordinary

I see Pete has flagged this between me starting the draft and getting home but I’ll add my take regardless. Several weeks back I noted Gerry Adams would find it no problem to become a candidate in Louth but may find it more difficult to become an elector. In order to be able to vote at an election or referendum, a person’s name must be entered on the register of electors for the locality in which the elector ordinarily resides. … Read more

FF: Just too cute this time?

Today FF and the Greens looked interested in leaving behind bobby traps for any incoming government as they face a humiliating removal from office. Both have declared their actions as in the national interest. But how much of recent events have been about FF, in particular trying to minimise their forthcoming time in the electoral wilderness and how much is really about the national interest? Following the Doherty court challenge and his likely victory in DSW, with further by-elections in … Read more

Five Irish parties avoid the unpalatable truth

Eoghan Harris does his best to separate the Labour Party from its Connellian heritage and argues that Connelly himself would be less than impressed with Eamon Gilmore’s one way bet on the public sector interest. That of course is a moot point, but he notes that the roots of the problem lie with Fianna Fail’s bizarre benchmarking deals of 2002: Let’s start with pay. Peter Cassells, the respected former leader of the ICTU, says the Irish economy cannot recover until … Read more

On the necessity of a land tax

Constantin Gurdgiev gave a good overview of why a land tax is essential if Ireland is to build a smart / knowledge economy a few months back on the Renegade Economist. It’s probably worth reviewing his arguments today, the day Fianna Fail ruled out a (admittedly unfair) flat rate property tax. Gurdgiev blames the disparity in taxation between investments in human capital (e.g. increased education) – typically each additional Euro earned is taxed at 53% – and investments in land, … Read more

Time to scrap the lower marginal rate?

Michael Taft has a blog post promoting a proposal from Social Justice Ireland for refundable tax credits. The idea being that if your tax bill was lower than your personal credit allowance you would recieve a cheque for the difference. While this proposal comes from a left-wing source, it is similar to an idea for a Negative Income Tax proposed by Milton Friedman. Which got me thinking. Given that, at least in the USA, wage increases increasingly go to the … Read more

IMF propose new bankers tax

In a new report to the G20, the IMF recommend that two new special taxes should be levied on banks and bankers to meet the cost of any future financial crises. The two taxes target bankers pay and bank profits. Per the Times report The first tax, a Financial Stability Contribution, would be a levy to fund any future government support. The second would be a Financial Activities Tax on the sum of the profits and remuneration of financial institutions. … Read more