Ireland’s Government parties are at odds over plans to allow tax exiles to spend more time in the country in return for a $20million investment over a 10 year period.
Fine Gael’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan has described the proposed move as attractive.
But Labor Party deputy Kevin Humpreys has vowed to fight the controversial proposal.
Many Irish billionaires and multi-millionaires, up to 400, currently maintain residency abroad for tax purposes.
But the Government-backed Forum on Philanthropy has proposed a scheme where so-called high net worth individuals who have chosen to live abroad can ‘buy’ extra days in Ireland in exchange for investment in charities and other worthy projects.
The Irish Times reports that under current tax laws, a person is considered a non-resident for tax purposes if they spend no more than 182 days a year in Ireland.
The scheme has been discussed by the parliament’s Finance Committee and would be targeted at super-rich individuals who have chosen to be non-resident. It is estimated there are some 400 tax exiles in this category.
Under the proposal they would accrue an extra 62 days a year in Ireland, and a total of 244 days, without being brought into the tax net. Under the scheme the average cost for each extra day would work out in the region of $50,000.
Humphreys, Labor’s senior representative on the committee, is against the move.
He said: “It would turn my stomach to give some of these individuals extra days in Ireland.
“I think the citizens will be very annoyed that we give them extra days for €36,500 a day. For those guys it is not a lot of money.”
In a letter to the committee, Noonan said: “The proposal is an attractive initiative, as it would focus on job creation.
“It would give additional funding to charities, at a time when then two major philanthropic funds in Ireland, Atlantic Philanthropies and the One Foundation, are drawing their activities to a close, with the loss of $65 million in revenue a year.”