It is clear that extraordinarily high corporation tax receipts are underpinning the expected budget surplus for 2023 and 2024.
The Department is expecting an increase of c€1.7bn in corporation tax receipts in 2023 over what was a stellar 2022. A further modest increase in corporation tax receipts is expected in 2024.
It is exceptionally difficult to predict where future corporation tax receipts will land, given its dependency on such a small number of companies. A dip in 2023 earnings for a few large companies based in Ireland would have a huge impact on corporation tax receipts and our budget surplus.
On the other hand, the expiration of significant tax allowances and an increase in our corporate tax rate next year (for large companies) to 15% should see corporate tax receipts rise further, all other things being equal. Other expected global tax changes, such as the reallocation of taxable profits away from Ireland to market jurisdictions, will have the opposite effect. Whether we see any behavioural changes from large companies based here is another significant unknown.
Given the above, it is difficult to quantify what part of our current corporation tax receipts should be classified as “windfall.” The Department’s figures suggest a figure of €12bn could be the “windfall” element of current corporation tax receipts, which is a staggering figure given that it represents over 10% of the country’s total tax take.
Bumper corporation tax receipts are putting the Exchequer in quite a strong position. While the Department is correctly taking a prudent position on the sustainability of these receipts, it is also possible that we will end up with “recurring windfall” receipts, certainly for the short to medium term period.
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