Thursday, November 09, 2017

Six major multi-national firms based in Ireland are to be hauled before the Dáil’s financial watchdog early next year to explain the amount of tax they pay in Ireland and existing loopholes in the system, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith Political Correspondent

The cross-party Dáil public accounts committee confirmed this morning they will ask Apple, Google, JP Morgan, Citibank, GSK and Pfizer to appear in the wake of the Paradise Papers crisis and concerns over Revenue’s tax take.

Speaking at this morning’s PAC meeting, committee chair and Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming said the cross-party group should “write to these companies and ask them to provide assistance to us in relation to this matter”.

Noting the fact a number of the firms have previously attended meetings in the Dáil and at Westminster in Britain, he said they need to show “the same respect to the Irish parliament as other parliaments” and that their attendance is requested voluntarily “at this point”.

The move was supported by a number of committee members, with Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy saying any meeting must also ensure the committee “has sight of some of the thinking behind the Department of Finance’s approach” and the equally important issue of “very significant tax shelters”.

She said the Department needs to explain “what they had anticipated would come in [in tax] and was something [in the tax rules] used in a way it shouldn’t”.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane also said the issue needs to focus on “alleged loopholes”, noting that while some are legal “it would be useful if we could get a briefing on the tax code”.

He said the PAC may also need to be given specific pre-meeting advice from an independent tax expert, a view that was supported by Independent TD Catherine Connolly who said “if’s just a window dressing exercise if we don’t do it with extra staff” due to the complexity of the issues involved.

The call for Apple, Google, JP Morgan, Citibank, GSK and Pfizer to attend comes just days after the first files from the Paradise Papers exposé were published.

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