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Doherty writes to Charities Regulator regarding use of charities for tax purposes

7 July, 2016 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has today written to the Charities Regulator John Farrelly outlining concerns that trusts designated as charities are being used by billion dollar special purpose vehicles to obscure their tax arrangements and to point out that there seems to be a clear conflict of interest in the management of these trusts.

Deputy Doherty said:

“In a Freedom of Information request I received recently, Revenue Commissioners officials raised concerns that charities set up by law firms were being used to obscure tax arrangements of Special Purpose Vehicles and that the Charities Regulator had a role in cracking down on this practice. Today, I have written to the Regulator seeking his view on this practice and asking him to liaise with the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Finance to put an end to this practice.

“There clearly is a major issue here with charitable status being abused to muddy the waters when it comes to some companies paying their tax. The Revenue Commissioners need to get to grips with the issue and we need to see concrete action to close what is to most people the worst kind of tax practice.

“The world of Special Purpose Vehicles is complex and that is no accident, but when an abuse is identified there should be swift action to restore confidence in our tax system. These trusts are part of a bigger scheme, the results of which are potentially depriving the State of hundreds of millions of euro by creating tax neutral entities.

“The Charities Regulator needs to examine the role of these trusts with a view to reviewing whether they should qualify as charities and whether there is an inherent conflict of interest in having these trusts’ boards being made up entirely of directors of associated law firms for example.” 

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