Business leaders call for wider tax net

By Geoff Percival

More than 80% of business leaders want Minister Donohoe to widen the tax base and bring more people into the tax net in the October budget.

A pre-Budget survey of public and private company CEOs, by PwC, shows that almost 80% of bosses agree that moving the Government finances into a surplus is the right course of action.

However, as many as 84% are concerned about the rising cost of business, with more than half worried about the changing international tax environment.

Only a little over a quarter of respondents viewed the Government’s planned ‘rainy day fund’, to buffer the country against future economic shocks, as being a key priority.

Instead, the number one priority for Budget 2019, according to the vast majority, is further investment in national and public infrastructure including roads, broadband and the health service.

Reducing the high personal tax burden, dealing with the housing supply crisis and boosting Ireland’s overall competitiveness also ranked highly.

More than 60% of respondents said Brexit represents a bigger threat to Irish exports than US protectionist policy.

“Maintaining Ireland’s competitiveness is critical in the light of Brexit and other geopolitical uncertainties and the survey highlights the rising cost of doing business, available talent and residential housing as key concerns,” said PwC’s head of tax, Joe Tynan.

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