Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 20 March, 1997
Written Answers. - Harmonisation of Taxes.
Mr. McCreevy Mr. McCreevy
48. Mr. McCreevy asked the Minister for Finance his views on the call from some EU member states for the harmonisation of tax across the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7731/97]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn) Ruairí Quinn
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): As regards direct taxes, while there are a number of EU Directives in existence or under consideration in relation to specific aspects of company taxation, there are no plans at EU level for general harmonisation of tax rates or tax bases. In a recent wide-ranging discussion of taxation policies at the Council of Finance Ministers, there was little support among the member states for harmonisation of income tax or corporation tax rates. Such harmonisation would in any event require the unanimous approval of the member states.
There is, however, broad acceptance among EU Finance Minister of the need to achieve greater co-ordination of direct taxation policies between the member states so as to ensure that these are consistent with EU objectives in relation to economic and monetary union, the Single Market and various social regional and environmental policies. The Council of Finance Ministers has established a high-level policy group chaired by Commissioner Monti to examine these issues and report back to the Council in due course on what initiatives might be considered in this area. Ireland is represented on the group at senior official level and I will be kept informed of developments within the group at regular intervals.
In so far as indirect taxes are concerned, a certain amount of alignment has already taken place in respect of VAT and excise rates in the context of achieving the Single Market, though considerable differences in rates remain. Further alignment is expected to be considered over the coming years and the Government will examine any proposals that emerge on their merits and with due regard to the national interest.
Dáil Éireann 476 Written Answers. Harmonisation of Taxes.