Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has warned that the Government appears determined to repeat the mistakes of this year’s budget by focusing tax cuts on the top rate and those on above average earnings.

Deputy McGrath stated, “While Labour is trying to carve out a separate identity for itself on the issue of tax by highlighting Fine Gael’s fixation with the top rate of tax and their desire to focus reductions on the higher earners, the reality is that Labour signed up to a budget in which tax reductions were skewed towards those on above average earnings.

“Discussion of tax reform has to encompass a much broader range of issues and must also take account of the need to provide a stable revenue base for funding vital public services. We believe our proposals represent a fair and balanced contrast to the electioneering of Fine Gael and the subservient attitude of the Labour party.

“Fianna Fáil’s plans to reform the tax system will result in a reduction of the burden of tax on hard pressed families and will also result in more entrepreneurs deciding to start their business in Ireland. In our Budget submission for 2015, Fianna Fáil made a conscious decision to prioritise investing in key public services, which have been savaged in recent years, over income tax breaks. However, we also laid out an overall plan for reforming the tax system and reducing the burden of income tax on families over the next number of years.

“The debate on income tax in the next election has to be about more than whose tax cut is better. Reform of our tax system is essential and Fianna Fáil has identified a number of areas within our tax system that are crying out for reform. Addressing these issues will result in the burden of tax being reduced as resources allow. In particular, we believe there is a need to:

  • Simplify the tax code
  • Recognise the importance of ability to pay
  • Reform and reduce the burden of the universal social charge
  • Increase tax credits
  • Address the unfair treatment of the self-employed
  • Increase inheritance tax thresholds
  • Introduce a new CGT rate of 15% for entrepreneurs.”