We'll get tough on tax dodgers, says 'socialist' Ahern

The game is up for rich people using loopholes to avoid paying income tax, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said today.

Mr Ahern said next year’s Budget would slam the door shut on those not sharing their wealth with society.

“The end line is where there are people just using all of the shelter, all of the relief in a way to protect themselves from paying any income tax, any contribution to society, their game is up,” Mr Ahern said.

“The Budget next year is going to deal with them.”

The Taoiseach said it was unfair the wealthiest in the country used their know-how and skills to avoid paying anything back to society.

“We can’t tolerate a situation where people are using the exemptions to have a nil income tax basis just because they are clever themselves or they have the ability to pay an advisor,” he said.

“That is not what they where there to do, but how you do that is difficult enough and the Revenue Commission and Department of Finance have strong views about that.”

But Mr Ahern told RTE Radio a cautious approach was needed to assess the economic effect of capping or removing tax reliefs.

He also said there was no doubt that he was a socialist and pursuing a left wing agenda through the Budget.

Mr Ahern claimed his form of socialism was geared towards maintaining strong economic growth, not destroying it.

“I am a left winger, my form of socialism, the reason I say I’m the only one is because the other socialists would wreck the economy,” he said.

“They like high taxes, to wreck business and they like to go after business as if there’s something evil about them.

“I like wealth creators, I like people who create wealth and I like people who then pay their taxes on that wealth because that allows me to help the people who need their help.”


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