ISME leads calls for one-off tax and social welfare 'amnesty'

17th April 2013

The business lobby group, Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), has called on the government to introduce a one-off tax and social welfare 'amnesty' to bring offenders back into the tax system.
 
An amnesty would enable individuals to legitimise 'hidden economy' earnings, while the ISME also recommended a ‘zero tolerance’ regime for offenders.
 
Mark Fielding, chief executive of the ISME, believes there is a perception that those in positions of leadership in Ireland are failing to carry their share of the tax burden, which is serving to further escalate the issue.
 
"Many householders resent the politicians, bankers and auditors, to name but a few, who have fiddled, evaded or not paid their proper tax," said Fielding.
 
Fielding told an Oireachtas Committee that the 'black economy' was costing the state an estimated €5bn a year in lost tax.
 
He discussed the issue of rogue businesses operating outside the tax net, creating an unfair playing field that consequently makes it harder for tax-compliant businesses to compete.
 
Unfair competition from 'black economy operators' is certainly on the increase, according to Aeneas Noonan, chairman of the Small Firms Association (SFA).
 
"Leakage to the black economy is now estimated to be as high as 14 per cent of the total economy, or half a billion euro each month, that the taxman does not have access to," he said.
 
In order to raise public awareness, the ISME and the SFA have called for a fresh campaign to highlight the cost of the 'black economy' in damaging business, jobs and tax income for the State as well as Ireland’s consumers.


Image: Images_of_Money

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