Nov 30, 2004

Tax Scandal

Business Day:

Some people pay no Tax in Ireland - it just doesn't seem right!
Article from "Business Day"

"Eleven Ireland-based people recently earned over a million euros yet did not pay a single cent in tax, while a mystery 'artist' made 10 million euros and kept the lot. Generous relief provisions under Ireland's tax laws are allowing some of the country's super-rich to bank all of their gross earnings.
With Finance Minister Brian Cowen due to present Ireland's latest annual budget to parliament on Wednesday, revelations about a range of quite legal tax relief deals have been thrust into the political spotlight.
A series of parliamentary questions tabled by opposition MPs have led to disclosures from the country's tax-collecting authority, the Revenue Commissioners, about just how valuable relief is for the very wealthy.
Since the revelations, an opinion poll in one of the country's newspapers showed 74% of voters want Cowen to close off the tax loopholes.
The years of the Celtic Tiger economic boom has resulted in a jump in the numbers of what the tax collectors call 'high wealth individuals'.
In recent years Ireland has been grappling with the scandal of so-called 'legacy' tax problems - widespread illegal evasion dating back decades. But now fortunes are being saved as big earners take advantage of legal loopholes. Artists' earnings are exempt, stallion owners get a free ride on stud fees and there are over 30 other reliefs involving areas like film making, multi-storey car parks, pensions' investment, business expansion, historical homes, holiday cottages and private health clinics.
The most recent year for which Revenue figures are available - an eight month taxable period in 2001 during a transitional switch to calendar taxation - showed 11 people declared earnings of over a million euros without any liability.
Labour finance spokeswoman Joan Burton was outraged when she"

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