Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland
HC 558-I, First Report of Session 2010-12 - Volume I: Report, Together with Formal Minutes
- House of Commons - Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland (HC 558-I)' details the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee's support of the principle of devolving to the Northern Ireland Executive the decision over whether or not to amend the rate of corporation tax, and their belief that this would assist the indigenous private sector to expand, innovate and employ more staff.
The report uses 12.5% as a benchmark for the lower rate of corporation tax, but suggests that on the basis that the decision is devolved to the Northern Ireland executive it may, in due course, choose a lower rate.
To maximise the benefits of a lower rate, though, continued progress needs to be made on other economic development policy mechanisms, including planning, education, and incentives for research and development and exporting.
Low corporation tax is not a panacea for all Northern Ireland's economic ills, warns the committee, and there are considerable implementation issues:
direct comparisons with the Republic of Ireland and its experience with 12.5% are difficult because the UK and Irish tax systems are different; and
the UK Government would have to satisfy the criteria laid down in the Azores judgment for the tax reduction to satisfy EU rules on state aids.
The committee was surprised to discover HM Treasury do not know how much corporation tax is raised in Northern Ireland.
It is important that the Northern Ireland Executive has as much information as possible before deciding if, and how, it wishes to lower the rate, and at least a better idea of the amount of financial risk they are taking on. Furthermore, the benefits of lowering corporation tax must not be outweighed by the costs to businesses and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
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