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Community Platform - Paying our Way

Paying our Way

Ireland has the fourth lowest tax take as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product in the European Union. As a society we have come to expect western European levels of social and economic development yet are only willing to pay eastern European levels of taxation. As our recent economic collapse has demonstrated this contradiction is no longer sustainable.

The kind of society we live in is in part determined by our tax system. Taxes provide the revenue used to educate our children, care for our sick, support those out of work or in retirement, and keep our communities safe. Taxes provide support for job creation and economic growth in both the public and private sectors, assisting businesses, providing infrastructure and investing in strategically important sectors of the economy. Taxes are also used to make our society a better place to live, providing public amenities, promoting arts and culture and investing in social inclusion.

The Community Platform strongly believes that Ireland's low tax regime is one of the reasons why levels of poverty and inequality in our society remain  at unacceptably high levels. Indeed, contrary to the arguments of some, we believe that Ireland's low tax regime undermines our economic competitiveness and socio-economic development.

As a network of more than 30 organisations working to end poverty and inequality the Community Platform is convinced that meaningful reform of our tax system is a prerequisite to building a more equal and prosperous society.

As part of our ongoing commitment to inform progressive public and policy debate, in 2010 the Community Platform commissioned TASC to analyse Ireland's tax system. We asked TASC to compare our tax system to our EU counterparts and to provide an outline of what a progressive tax system could look like. The resulting research, produced by Michael Taft, represents a significant challenge to the prevailing policy consensus on this issue. It challenges many of the myths underlying support for Ireland's current low tax model. It provides much needed comparative and empirical evidence in support of arguments for progressive reform.

Crucially, it outlines in a credible way a realistic set of proposals which would take us from the underresourced, unsustainable and unfair tax system in place today and in the direction of a modern progressive European tax system.

To download Paying our Way please click here