August 2011        

Poll tax mark 2


The coalition Government, according to Phil Hogan, is about to introduce a new version of the dreaded Thatcherite poll tax in Ireland. It is to be €100 per annum, whether you live in a luxurious mansion in Ballsbridge, such as the one owned by Denis O’Brien, or a small two-bedroomed flat in Ringsend.
     This goes against one of the canons of taxation as set out by Adam Smith in the 1780s. This is that tax should be based on the ability to pay. This would mean that Denis O’Brien would have to pay more and the individual in Ringsend would pay less.
     Interestingly enough, Mr O’Brien might not have to pay the tax at all, as he is a tax exile. This is because wealthy individuals like him have persuaded successive Governments that it was not a good idea to tax them. The Government created loopholes for them to allow them to earn income and pay tax (if any) in tax havens such as Bermuda or Monaco. This analysis would apply to others, such as “Bono” and J. P. McManus. If they paid their fair share of tax in Ireland there would be no need for this poll tax.
[KC]

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