Micheál L. Collins and Mary Walsh, Tax Expenditures: Revenue and Information Forgone - The Experience of Ireland, 2011
Tax expenditures are perceived to represent a ‘pervasive and growing’ (OECD, 2010)
element of many national taxation systems. Despite this, in many countries, there
remains a critical lack of understanding of their impact and scale. A 2010 OECD
analysis produced data for only seven of its thirty-four member states. Internationally
and nationally, such an information deficit undermines the ability of taxation systems
to function efficiently and compromises the ability of policy makers to design, control
and evaluate taxation interventions. The latter is all the more relevant in the context of
recent economic challenges.
This paper derives from the results of the first comprehensive exploration of Ireland’s
tax expenditure system. It highlights the previously unknown scale of that system,
points towards a series of information deficits and compares the Irish system to that of
other OECD countries. Based on this analysis, the paper offers a series of
administrative and structural reforms relevant to all tax expenditure systems.
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