THOSE who are tax compliant need not fret about extra powers given to the Revenue Commisioners in the Finance Bill which was published yesterday.
Those who are not, might. The changes authorise the Revenue to gather information about taxpayers from third parties and financial institutions. It also increases the maximum tax on oil and gas fields in Ireland from 40% to 55%.
Tax dodging, like beating a charge of drunken driving, was a kind of national sport for generations, but not anymore. The understanding that tax evasion is not only criminal but one of the things that cuts the legs from under public services, means the practice is seen in an utterly different light today. Of course, it continues in some areas and defines the black economy, but it is no longer imagined as a modern playing of the take-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor Robin Hood ballyhoo.
How transnational corporations are able to limit their tax liabilities to tiny proportions of their turnover is one of the issues of the day. If that sector was better regulated all domestic tax measures would pale into insignificance.
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