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Taxation

As a policy objective, Ireland can remain a low-tax economy, but not one incapable of adequately supporting necessary economic, social and infrastructural requirements. Our current low tax/low investment model is not sustainable and we regret that Budget 2020 did not take greater steps to address this.

Social Justice Ireland has repeatedly called for increased scrutiny of tax expenditures as part of the budgetary process. We regret that in Budget 2020, at a time when the Minister for Finance has made a point of repeatedly noting the scarcity of available resources, government has ignored a real opportunity to increase the total tax-take whilst making the tax system fairer.

What income changes arose from the tax and benefit measures taken in Budget 2020? What are the effective tax rates now for different levels of income, and how do they compare with effective rates over time? Click here to see.

Policy Coherence means making sure that the goals of one policy, or set of policies, does not conflict with another. Here are some areas where Ireland performs particularly badly in this regard.

In the Sustainability edition of our National Social Monitor,  we assess whether current policy on sustainability encompasses the three pillars of environment, society and economy and make proposals on how to transition towards a sustainable future. 

Social Justice Ireland welcomed the decision to tax windfall gains from re-zoned land in 2010 and strongly condemned its removal five years later as one of the most retrograde policy initiatives in recent years. Government should bring back the tax on windfall gains from re-zoned land in Budget 2020.

Budget 2020 is the ideal time to reform how Ireland does corporate taxation. At present, too many firms get away with paying low effective rates or availing of overly generous subsidies or tax holidays. Our Budget 2020 submission, published in June, contains numerous proposals to improve matters.

Last week the Department of Finance noted that some of Taoiseach Varadkar’s key taxation promises could be “inequitable” and lead to increased benefits for higher earners while middle-income taxpayers lose out. In this article, we present a number of possible situations for comparison. In all cases the income tax reduction policy examined would carry a full year cost of between 1.3% and 1.5% of the total income taxation yield (€299m-€342m). Click here to see which are the fairest options for Government in Budget 2020.

A Site Value Tax would be a fairer and more efficient way to generate additional government revenue than the current Local Property Tax, and it would also incentivise better use of land at a time when Ireland faces a significant housing and accommodation crisis.

The contribution of airplane emissions to climate change is well documented. It's time the aviation industry made a contribution to society that more accurately reflects the harm it does while ultimately incentivising individuals to fly less. Click here to read how Government could raise €200m in 2020 while benefiting the environment.

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