Greens' ideas 'differ' from Commission on Taxation report

Senator Dan Boyle of the Green Party has said that "there are a number of areas where Green Party ideas differ from those of the Commission on Taxation".

His comments follow the release of the Commission on Taxation report containing radical proposals to raise revenue.

The Commission on Taxation was set up to set up by the Government to review the State’s taxation system and help shore up the public finances.

Mr Boyle said: "Many of the recommendations will prove contentious and there are a number of areas where Green Party ideas differ from those of the Commission. However, the report should hopefully kick-start a debate in the wider public arena about how we can create a taxation system that is fair, efficient and helps to protect the environment and our natural resources.

Mr Boyle said: "Reform of tax reliefs for high earners and the carbon levy are significant features of the report.

The Green Party's Chairman and finance spokesperson said that proposals relating to property tax and water charges "will be hotly debated".

He said: "The Green Party has advocated over many years the introduction of a site value tax and believes that this would be the most fair and progressive form of property tax and would provide a more stable stream of revenue than the current stamp duty regime. This is a point of disagreement between the Green Party and the report.

"Any water charges that may be introduced must be related to usage and must not be punitive. Minister John Gormley has the responsibility to help lead the debate on this issue.

"In particular we welcome the extensive review of current tax reliefs. In our submission to the Commission we argued for a system whereby all future tax reliefs are evaluated on cost-benefit basis prior to their introduction and are subject to constant re-evaluation. Tax reliefs must be evaluated for their economic, social and environmental effects.

"We must ensure that our taxation system does not encourage or support the type of rampant and environmentally and economically destructive development which took place during the last number of years.

"The Government asked the Commission to outline how a carbon levy could be implemented. The Report does this, but it is important for the Green Party that revenues raised by such a measure should be directed into areas that have an environmental benefit.

"We welcome the Commission's proposal for a new and focussed scrappage scheme, targeted at encouraging a switch to the purchase of electric and very low carbon emitting vehicles.

"We also welcome the recommendation by the Commission that the arrangements concerning tax residency should be tightened. In Budget 2009 the Green Party successfully pushed for the deletion of the 'Cinderella clause,' which allowed tax exiles to claim that part of a day spent abroad was equal to a full day. Now we must look to supplementing the 183 day rule to ensure that those who benefit from Irish society must also contribute to it.

"The Commission was established to ensure a more equitable and stable taxation system. One of the expectations arising from this is that higher earners must pay higher levels of tax. The ability for anybody to avoid paying tax must be restricted.

"In trying to create a fairer tax system this report should be read as a whole. The Green Party believe that there should be balance in the system between taxes on income and taxes on spending. To date, the Government has got the balance wrong and hopefully this report will allow a fairer system to be brought about," Senator Boyle concluded.

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