The four Irish EPP Group MEPs (Fine Gael) Seán Kelly, Mairead McGuinness, Deirdre Clune and Brian Hayes today (Wednesday) did not support a European Parliament report on tax avoidance as it encroaches on national tax sovereignty.
“This was supposed to be a report advocating sound rules to curb tax avoidance practices. Instead, it went above and beyond this goal and was used as a way of delving into Member States tax sovereignty by the back door.
“It is clear in the EU Treaties that corporate tax rates are decided by Member States alone and that should not be changed,” the MEPs said in a joint statement on Wednesday afternoon.
“This report aims to define what constitutes a minimum effective tax rate for companies’ income when they are based in the EU. It is not up to the European Parliament to decide what a good or bad rate of corporate tax is, this is up to Member States to decide. European institutions should be focusing on eliminating tax loopholes in Europe, nothing else. The report also calls for tax consolidation through a CCCTB which is a major issue for Ireland.
“Ireland has taken a leadership role in getting agreement for new OECD rules on tax avoidance. Going beyond these rules puts Europe at a serious disadvantage with the rest of the world.
“It is absolutely right that companies should pay their fair share and we need to put strong rules in place. We have seen several scandals from Lux Leaks to the Panama Papers which demonstrate the extent of tax avoidance globally but the way to tackle this is by closing off loopholes and implementing OECD rules.
“Ireland has made several changes to its tax system in recent years. From getting rid of the double Irish to introducing new rules on residency.
“We have changed our structure to allow for a new knowledge development box, which some have criticised. But we should apologise to no one for the new knowledge development box introduced by the new government. This development box complies with OECD standards and is completely in line with the OECD nexus rules. It allows us to attract companies which have a focus on research and innovation and it allows us to encourage more jobs in Ireland through increased foreign direct investment,” the MEPs concluded.