Dublin Bay South Fianna Fáil candidate Jim O’Callaghan has outlined an extensive range of tax reforms measures he is committed to pursuing if successful in the forthcoming General Election.
Cllr O’Callaghan, who is also the Legal Advisor to the Fianna Fáil Front Bench, told a public meeting at the Sandymount Hotel last night that Ireland’s economic recovery offered a timely opportunity to reform our tax system to make it fairer, simpler and more supportive of enterprise.
Cllr O’Callaghan outlined his six key priorities for tax reform:
· Simplify the tax code
· Recognise the importance of ability to pay
· Reform the Universal Social Charge
· Increase tax credits
· Address the anomaly where self-employed are taxed more harshly
· Increase the threshold for inheritance tax
The meeting heard a wide range of views on issues ranging from the burden of the Universal Social Charge, to fair treatment for the self-employed and the importance of ensuring the tax base is sustainable in to the future.
Cllr O’Callaghan commented, “I was delighted to welcome our Public Expenditure Spokesperson Sean Fleming to the meeting who re-affirmed Fianna Fáil is commitment to engage with the public and representative groups in relation to taxation polices in the run-up to Budget 2016 and the General Election. The party has already published a comprehensive set of proposals on how the taxation system can assist entrepreneurs and small business owners including:
· Incentives to support businesses raising new capital
· Equal treatment for the self-employed in the PAYE system.
· Dismantling the barriers in the PRSI code which discourage enterprise.
· Reform of commercial rates to make the system more responsive to the needs of struggling businesses and to encourage greater use of vacant sites.
The meeting also heard extensive discussion on the subject of inheritance tax. Cllr O’Callaghan outlined how he had put the issue on the national agenda in an article earlier this year outlining the problems that the current inheritance tax regime is causing.
“The number of people liable for inheritance tax has risen by 34% in the last four years. The reflects the fact that the level at which an individual has to pay Capital Acquisitions Tax on a gift or inheritance from a parent to a child has been reduced by 60% in recent years to €225,000. The government also increased the CGT rate to 33%. Thresholds are now at the same level as they were in 1995,” said Cllr O’Callaghan.
“I am pleased that along with my colleague Senator Mary White, I have secured a commitment from the Fianna Fáil party to comprehensively address this issue in a paper which will be published shortly.”