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Irish Government should support Corporate Tax transparency - Carthy

14 March, 2017 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy has called on the Irish Government to support public country-by-country tax reporting for large multinational corporations.

Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry Committee, was addressing the Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg during a debate on what steps had been taken to follow-up on the recommendations arising from the Luxleaks inquiry (TAXE).

His comments follow statements from Finance Minister Michael Noonan opposing the need for country-by-country reporting to be made public.

Addressing MEPs, Matt Carthy said: 

"It’s very disappointing to see a pattern where some Member States, including Ireland, play an obstructionist role in the Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation and the Council in consistently opposing reforms for fair and transparent corporate taxation.

“Our Finance Minister Michael Noonan claims that Ireland is committed to the highest international standards on tax transparency. But at the same time, he’s also on record as opposing the EU proposal to introduce public country-by-country reporting.

“Companies today who are active in several countries only report their overall, aggregated operating results without indicating where their profit was made.

"Country-by-country reporting is designed to make transfer pricing tricks and other tax avoidance schemes easier to detect.

"Making this data public - instead of only providing it to tax authorities - will allow greater scrutiny of the tax affairs of multinationals by citizens, journalists and NGOs.

“Government and tax industry representatives claim this is a matter of trust – the Irish people have trust in our Revenue agency, so making the reporting public is unnecessary. 

"Well, many people don't trust Revenue – this is the agency that engaged in sweetheart deals with Apple after all.

“Making country-by-country reporting public is vital to ensure democratic, public scrutiny of the tax affairs of the largest multinationals.

“When country-by-country reporting for large banks was made public, it wasn’t any Government agency that pointed out to us that French banks were making profits in Ireland up to 76 times higher than in France – it was Oxfam.

"It is possible to have maximum transparency while protecting our tax sovereignty.

"Sinn Féin firmly asserts the rights of national governments to set their own tax rates and to implement their own economic development plans.

"That does not equate to the need to frustrate efforts to introduce transparency mechanisms that ensure that corporations can avoid paying their fair share of taxation.

“Minister Noonan should stop using the limitations of the OECD’s BEPS proposals as an excuse to block action on tax transparency – either you’re in favour of transparency, or you’re not.”

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