Irish Banks must come clean on offshore tax avoidance

06 November 2017

Following the publication of details from the Paradise Papers, Labour spokesperson on Finance, Joan Burton TD has called on AIB and Bank of Ireland to come clean on the level of offshore tax avoidance they have facilitated in the past. The Government now also has questions to answer about this year’s tax amnesty for offshore funds and how much was known in advance.

Deputy Burton said:

“The Paradise Papers have shone a light on the level of international tax avoidance and planning that allows the world’s wealthy elite squirrel money in off-shore trusts and accounts.

“The refusal of a state owned bank to provide relevant information to the Revenue Commissioners is a shocking revelation.

“It’s time for Irish Banks to come clean on what they have facilitated.

“As I said in April 2016 when the Panama Papers were published, it was a wake-up call for Ireland and that minimum effective tax rates were needed, along with a Standing Commission on Taxation.

“It appears that little has changed and that the tax avoidance industry has continued to go from strength to strength.

“Last year’s Finance Bill introduced a provision whereby from 1 May 2017, the making of a qualifying disclosure is no longer permitted where the tax liabilities involved relate to offshore matters. This restricted the opportunity for tax defaulters with outstanding tax liabilities relating to offshore matters to avail of the voluntary disclosure regime.

“This measure was projected to bring in €50 million but as of October €79 million in extra tax had come in.

“The Department of Finance and Revenue Commissioners need to outline if they were aware of the scale of avoidance that the Paradise Papers have revealed, and if this measure was brought in for this purpose, due to the likely publication of papers like this.”

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