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Tax Breaks for highly profitable banks ‘longer acceptable and must be ended’ – Conway-Walsh

2 May, 2019 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Sinn Féin Mayo Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has said that the Government is to blame for allowing banks who have recently announced huge profits, to essentially avoid paying corporation tax. This potential tax take must be set against the harsh tax demands, penalties, and interest rates weighing heavily on the self-employed and small and medium size businesses, as well as the real-life hardship being experienced by those vulnerable citizens denied essential services.

At a recent Finance Committee meeting, Senator Conway-Walsh asked Allied Irish Banks Chief Executive how much tax was paid by the company in Ireland compared to the amount paid to the British Government for its operation there.

“I was told that AIB paid €19 million on the €100 million profit they made on their activities in Britain; here in Ireland that same bank paid only €25 million on €1.25 billion of profit. We are told that we cannot have respite services for children with disabilities, we cannot build the infrastructure that is needed, and we do not have even minute amounts of money to give to the most vulnerable in our society. In those circumstances, people can see the gross injustice that is being facilitated by the Government.

“The deferred tax avoidance is no accident. The law was changed in 2014 by Minister Michael Noonan so as to remove any time limit or cap on losses that could be retrospectively written off against the corporation tax due. This can also be reversed by Government and badly needed funds can be collected.

“AIB and other banks are well able to pay the full rate of corporation tax. Over 18 or 19 years, that the scheme is set to last, millions of euro in tax receipts will essentially be forfeited by the state. This was pointed out to the Government at the time and their decision not to do anything about it in the time since makes their expressions of regret at the lack of services look insincere.” 

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