Compliance not “catch-them-out culture” required - Richard Bruton
Irish tax code is transparent and has no “special deals”, Minister says
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton: “We need to implement some of the changes like having broader, more representative boards, like having better opportunities for citizens to scrutini z se what’s happening”
The Companies Bill and measures pushed by the Irish presidency of the European Union will create “a compliance culture rather than a catch-them-out culture”, according to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.
Opening a two-day conference on corporate governance in Dublin, the Minister said the lesson of recent business scandals was that good corporate governance was “not merely a desirable add-on” for companies – it was also key to their long-term survival.
The Companies Bill removes a range of regulations for private companies, including the obligation to have two directors and the requirement to hold a physical agm. “Alongside this, a range of improvements will mean clearer and more transparent corporate governance rules, such as a codification of the duties of directors,” he said.
A range of accountancy reforms have also recently been agreed by the EU, while the Irish presidency has held discussions on updating the audit directive.
Speaking after the event, Mr Bruton said more reforms were necessary. “We need to implement some of the changes like having broader, more representative boards, like having better opportunities for citizens to scrutinise what’s happening.”
On the issue of British MPs’ growing hostility to the low tax contributions of large US corporations such as Amazon and Google, Mr Bruton said “the complex interaction between tax codes in a number of states” had been exposed.
“What’s at stake in a number of these cases is that companies can game tax codes in several member states, the US and non-European countries, and that can result in a low tax contribution. This isn’t a critique of the Irish tax code, which is pretty unique in being very transparent. It doesn’t have special deals and the effective rate and the nominal rate are close together,” he said.