Taxing Time Ahead?

There is no suggestion that this week's resumption of talks with trade unions and other 'social partners' means a softening of resolve in making tough decisions over tax.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said today that the resumption of talks with the social partners should not be seen as an indication that the Government is considering toning down changes to taxation in April's supplementary budget.

Mr Cowen was speaking after attending a business seminar in Dublin this morning.

He said that the taxation system currently in place is one that is based on growth and that changes would have to be made to reflect the current situation.

"Obviously the budgetary situation that faces the country today in terms of the loss of tax revenues... will mean we will have to devise a tax system for the future that is sustainable and provides for sustainable revenues for the country," he said.

"What I have been trying to convey in recent days is obviously the various scenarios being considered by the Government in this budgetary context.

"It obviously has to take into account the prospective economic impact, we have an economy that is contracting considerably this year," he added.

The Taoiseach said that any changes would be informed by the recommendations of the Commission on Taxation and "will involve obviously a broadening of the tax base."

See: Strike 'Deferred' - For Now


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