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ITI Calls For United Front Against EU Tax Harmonisation

by Jason Gorringe,, London

01 June 2007

The Irish Taxation Institute (ITI) has called for political, business and representative groups to unite against moves to harmonise European taxes.

ITI made the call on a day when the German Presidency of the EU hosted a meeting in Berlin on the subject of the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base or CCCTB.

Commenting on the issue, Mark Redmond, CEO of the ITI said moves towards a common means of paying corporate taxes in the EU is bad for Ireland and bad for Europe.

“The more you harmonise taxes, the more tax rates will rise, the more compliance costs will rise and the more unemployment will rise. The proposals put forward to date remain vague. They fail to come clean on the burden they will bring on both domestic and international businesses and they fail to address the widely held belief that it will mean higher corporate tax rates by the backdoor," he warned.

Redmond added: “Taxation policy has been central to the Irish success story and attempts to wrestle control on tax policy away from individual Member States should be fiercely resisted. A common tax rate is bad for Ireland and bad for Europe. To grow and sustain our economy we have got to stay competitive and one key way of doing so is through sound tax policies. If tax costs start to creep upward in Europe, the instinct of multi-nationals and other key employers will be to look to the Far East."

Redmond said the proposal to widen CCCTB to the financial services sector was worrying. In 2006, IFSC companies alone contributed EUR1.1 billion (US$1.5 billion) in tax revenues to the Irish exchequer.

Redmond also said the proposal to establish an overall EU Revenue Authority would mean another costly bureaucratic layer for business to grapple with. He said that a single Revenue authority would also serve to undermine the positive role played by the Irish Revenue.

Following a first progress report in 2006, the European Commission last month adopted a second communication on the progress towards a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base. (CCCTB).

The CCCTB would enable companies to follow the same rules for calculating the tax base for all their EU-wide activities, rather than in accordance with the existing 27 systems, thereby, simplifying procedures, improving efficiency and reducing compliance costs, the EC has argued.

However, despite assurances that no plans are in the pipeline for harmonizing tax rates, several member states have raised objections to the possibility of any kind of harmonization of any elements of EU member state tax regimes.

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