In the run-up to Budget 2017, the majority of Irish business leaders are in favour of appealing EU’s Apple tax ruling – almost 50pc see Brexit as a threat.
The Irish Government’s decision to appeal the Apple tax ruling by the European Commission has received the overwhelming support (86pc) of Irish business leaders, according to a pre-Budget 2017 survey by PwC.
But while they believe good progress has been made on reforming the tax agenda, less than half (47pc) believe Ireland has consistently been at the forefront of tax transparency.
‘Ireland needs to continue to demonstrate internationally that we have an open and transparent corporate tax regime that is competitive and fair’
– JOE TYNAN
Worryingly, nearly half (45pc) say that Brexit is more of a threat than an opportunity for Irish businesses, with only 25pc viewing Brexit as an opportunity.
Nine out of 10 Irish business leaders believe Ireland needs to enhance its R&D offering.
“Ireland’s economy continues to perform well above the average eurozone GDP growth rate,” said Joe Tynan, PwC Ireland’s head of tax.
“The country is attracting significant foreign direct investment, despite the uncertainties posed by Brexit and global tax reform. We have a great opportunity in Budget 2017 to ensure that Ireland remains competitive, while at the same time laying the foundations for further growth.
“We need to continue proactive collaboration with our OECD colleagues to ensure that we are recognised as having a corporate tax system that is fit for purpose and at the forefront of global standards.
“Ireland needs to continue to demonstrate internationally that we have an open and transparent corporate tax regime that is competitive and fair,” Tynan warned.
Call for better supports for entrepreneurs
Business leaders in Ireland believe that Finance Minister Michael Noonan, TD, needs to improve measures to encourage investment by entrepreneurs.
Almost three-quarters (74pc) are calling on Noonan to increase the ceiling on gains qualifying for the 20pc corporate tax rate.
”This is an important measure that would bring us more in line with the equivalent UK regime and help incentivise entrepreneurship and create jobs,” said Doone O’Doherty, tax director with PwC.
A similar proportion of respondents (77pc) indicated a preference for the Minister to improve employee share ownership by reducing the Capital Gains Tax rate for all employees, regardless of shareholding, rather than targeting key employees.
O’Doherty added: “Such a measure would be of interest to all businesses, but particularly SMEs and start-ups, who use share-based remuneration as a cost-effective means to reward employees, particularly when cash resources are limited.”
More R&D support urged for Budget 2017
90pc of Irish business leaders agree that Ireland needs to enhance its R&D offering to remain an attractive location for investment.
“Enhancing and maintaining Ireland’s status as an attractive location for R&D is important for increasing FDI investment,” explained Stephen Merriman, PwC Ireland research leader.
“In light of strong global competition for R&D mandates, Ireland needs to do everything in its power to enhance its R&D offering.
“Having an innovation ecosystem that attracts entrepreneurs, investors and key talent, while allowing new enterprises to flourish, and encouraging other companies and academia to be involved, is important,” Merriman said.