The government’s policy of allowing bailed-out banks to pay no corporation tax on their profits is “shockingly unfair” and must change, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said.
The Midlands North-West MEP said the 2018 profits reported by Allied Irish Bank (AIB), Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB (PTSB) last week have come “on the backs of the Irish people and at the expense of thousands of customers the banks have thrown under the bus”.
“AIB posted massive profits of €1.25 billion. Bank of Ireland posted profits of €935 million, while PTSB posted a 45 per cent increase on profits in 2018 from the previous year, at €94 million,” he said.
“Irish taxpayers own 71 per cent of AIB, 14 per cent of Bank of Ireland and 75 per cent of PTSB – and yet none of these three banks will pay a single cent in tax on the profits they collectively made last year that total around €2.3 billion. All the while ordinary families are struggling to make ends meet. This is the outworking of Fine Gael policies, facilitated by Fianna Fáil, in action.
“The banks have each stated that they do not expect to pay any corporation tax for a period of around 20 years as a result of the government’s policy of allowing banks to carry forward 100 per cent of their losses incurred during the crisis.
“The profitability of the banks has been achieved in part by the mass sell-off of customers’ mortgages to vulture funds, including the mortgages of thousands of customers who had been engaging with the bank and making repayments through split mortgage arrangements.
“It has also been achieved by the banks colluding to charge their customers an extortionately high interest rate – which, at an average of well above 3 per cent, is the second-highest average rate in the eurozone, and has taken place in the context of the ECB’s interest rates remaining at zero.
“The Irish government has the capacity to end this outrageously unfair situation of having neither a time limit nor a cap on losses that can be carried forward to write off against profits – a policy introduced by the Fine Gael government in 2014, and which is almost unique in the world.
“It is shockingly unfair that the banks can make a killing on the backs of the Irish taxpayers in this way.
“My colleague Pearse Doherty has campaigned for Irish banks to be forced to pay tax on their profits.
“Sinn Féin is demanding that the losses that can be carried forward be capped at 25 per cent, and for this to be limited to a period of 10 years.”