US chamber warns against raising taxes

Further personal tax increases could hamper the future expansion plans of US companies operating here, the American Chamber of Commerce (Ireland) has warned.

Addressing guests at the Chamber’s annual Independence Day lunch, yesterday, AmCham president Peter Keegan gave welcome evidence that US firms are actively hiring and growing their Irish operations; but warned of the potential damage tax hikes could do to their growth plans.

“Ireland has reached a tipping point and is now a high personal taxation jurisdiction, which can affect investment decisions and, indeed, cause our best qualified people to look abroad for opportunities. If we want to retain and attract talent, we have to be aware of this effect,” he said, noting that over 50% of respondents to a new AmCham members’ survey highlighted personal tax rates as a major concern.

However, it also showed that the vast majority of US firms — with operations here — feel that Ireland’s reputation, within their global corporation, has not been impacted negatively by the recent high profile tax debate on the country.

The results of the AmCham survey also paint a very healthy picture regarding US firms’ hiring hopes in Ireland. Nearly 60% of respondents said they are employing more people now than 12 months ago; with 75% currently advertising. Nearly 70% of companies claim to be filling vacancies within three months and there are over 1,400 positions available in the 100 companies who took part in the survey. AmCham called the findings “encouraging” and said they point to continued confidence in the multinational sector.

Mr Keegan, who is also Bank of America’s country executive for Ireland, said: “The challenge for government, now, is to ensure that Ireland remains attractive to continued investment by foreign direct investors, and that it remains competitive across all aspects — tax, talent and cost competitiveness.”

“As a country, we need to be planning now to ensure we offset the impact any future changes in international taxation agreements could have on that competitive offering,” he added.


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