Ireland's tax rates 'major disincentive' in competition for remote workers - Varadkar

Ireland's Tax Rates 'Major Disincentive' In Competition For Remote Workers - Varadkar
Varadkar believes the State's personal tax rates must be changed.
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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has described Ireland's personal tax rates as a 'major disincentive' when competing for highly mobile remote workers.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment said Ireland would lose high-paying jobs and the associated tax revenues to other countries if the State does not “face up to that reality”.

“Remote working presents huge opportunities as well as risks,” Mr Varadkar told The Irish Times.

“If you can remote work for a big company from your home in rural Ireland you can also from an island in the Mediterranean,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said there are currently 50,000 remote jobs available in Europe, adding that Ireland needs to get its “fair share” of those jobs.

“Remote working is a reality now though and we need to adapt to it and embrace it.”


He said Ireland has previously attracted investment “through smart policy decisions”.

Talented people

“In a world in which investment, wealth and talent are increasingly mobile, we will have to consider how to retain and attract talented people who, more and more, will be able to choose where they base themselves.

“Our higher personal tax rates are a major disincentive in this regard and we will have to face up to that reality or we will be forced to by the loss of high-paying jobs overseas and the tax revenues associated with them.”

Mr Varadkar added that Ireland should be attractive in “non-financial ways like more liveable cities, good education and a family-friendly environment, culture, security and the availability of quality housing”.

The Tánaiste's comments came after Facebook announced that its workers, including those based in Ireland, will be allowed to work abroad for 20 days a year.

Work abroad

Meanwhile, some employees will be able to work full-time abroad from next year, although this will not be available to the company's employees in Ireland.

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The social media company, which is one of the largest business organisations in the country, said it still wishes to grow its Irish operation, with their campus in Ballsbridge in Dublin due to proceed as planned.

Replying to queries, Facebook said: “Remote work will not have any impact on the substance of our operations here or employee numbers on balance.

“We don't expect employee numbers to decrease. If anything we expect them to grow as we continue to hire in Ireland.”


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