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Ireland Continues To Resist Tax Harmonisation Plans

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

09 December 2002


Ireland's Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern warned the European Union last week that the Republic will continue to strongly resist any moves towards tax harmonisation, citing the recent Franco-German efforts.

Speaking to the Dail on Finance Minister, Charlie McCreevy's recent budget, Mr Ahern stressed that corporate tax harmonisation will not solve the economic problems of any member state, arguing that:

'Legitimate competition on a transparent basis is healthy, not unfair.'

According to an Irish Examiner report, he continued:

'Large countries that in their day have experienced industrial revolutions and economic miracles should be the last to complain about fair if unwelcome competition from smaller and historically much weaker countries.'

Meanwhile, Irish banks last week protested against the tax hikes imposed upon them on Wednesday. As part of his 2003 budget, Mr McCreevy unveiled a special tax based on a bank's share of the retail deposit market, and also upped the duty on credit, debit, and ATM cards. It is thought that the former measure alone will raise some 100 million euros annually over the next three years.

However, banks feel that they are being unfairly discriminated against. Speaking to Dow Jones Newswires last week, spokesman for the Irish Bankers' Federation, Felix O'Regan asked: 'Why is banking being singled out?'

This sentiment was echoed by Colin Hunt, chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers, who told the news agency post-budget that: 'I see no rationale why all companies shouldn't be affected by this tax rather then just the financial services sector.'


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