Director’s Blog

A strange notion of freedom

Tom Healy, Director NERI - Tom Healy, Director NERI

The Irish Tax Institute does not disappoint. It describes itself as ‘the only professional body exclusively dedicated to tax’. In a way, this is an odd description because readers of its yearly pre- and post-budget documentation may have the impression that tax is an evil, but a necessary one at that. The aim of professional analysis by tax experts is to minimise it - legally (so that we might have ‘tax efficiency’). Alas, large international corporations do ‘tax efficiently’ very well as we know only too well here in Ireland.  A special focus in this year’s publication Pre-Budget 2019 Briefing Papers is on Tax Freedom Day – that day in the year when workers have paid their entire income tax obligations were they to pay all of their tax upfront and after which they ‘start earning for themselves’.  The implication of such language including references almost everywhere to ‘tax burden’ is that we are not free until we have to stop paying taxes and then we can earn to pay for our own lives, families and needs according to our own choices, priorities and values.

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