30 August 2016 - Christian Aid calls for full Dáil debate on tax ruling.
Today's European Commission ruling on Apple highlights the urgent need for the tax arrangements of both multinationals and governments to be brought into the open, Christian Aid says today.
'When deals are done behind closed doors, whether it is in Zambia or Ireland, it is the general public who lose out, as special treatment is granted to already wealthy and influential corporations,' said Sorley McCaughey, Head of Advocacy and Policy.
'This is not a one-off situation - it is part of a damaging race to the bottom in which governments are competing on who can offer multinationals the lowest tax bill. This is a recipe for disaster for all the tax-funded public services around the world on which lives depend.
'It’s time to get multinationals’ tax affairs out in the open, so we can all see how much they are actually contributing to the rest of society,' added Mr McCaughey.
'Multinationals like Apple must be required to publish their country-by-country tax reports, which they are already making to governments. Clearly, we cannot trust companies or governments to do the right thing without public scrutiny.'
Mr McCaughey also called for the Public Accounts Committee to be given the role of reviewing the use of previous rulings by multinational companies.
'These rulings are not debated in the Dáil, and are subject to no political oversight outside of the Minister of Finance, and technical briefings from Revenue to the Department of Finance.
'Given the huge amount of money that the state has apparently been foregone by the state, it's almost ridiculous that this is not debated in a more transparent and open way.'
If Apple ultimately loses its fight with the European Commission, then any repayments will be to the Irish state. However, Christian Aid questions whether such an arrangement represents any kind of disincentive to a state not to engage in such secret tax rulings.
Consideration should instead be given to the proposals from the European Parliament that the money be repaid either to the EU general budget, or to those countries whose tax base has been eroded by Ireland tax ruling with Apple.
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Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, and sustainably. Our strategy document ‘From Inspiration to Impact’ outlines how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org
4. Follow Christian Aid Ireland on Twitter: twitter.com/christianaidirl
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.ie