Accountants in North think ‘ship has sailed’ on corporation tax

Close to one third of survey respondents expect economic stagnation next year

Almost all accountants responding to the survey believe the North’s political stalemate is bad for its position in Brexit negotiations. Photograph: Bloomberg

Almost all accountants responding to the survey believe the North’s political stalemate is bad for its position in Brexit negotiations. Photograph: Bloomberg

 

The North will never get its own lower rate of corporation tax to match the Republic’s 12.5 per cent, the vast majority of accountants in the North now believe, according to a new report.

The Chartered Accountants Ulster Society 2018 Survey shows that a significant number of accountants – 60 per cent – believe the North’s chances of securing a special rate, below the general UK corporation tax rate, have been missed.

 Proposals to devolve corporation tax powers to Northern Ireland were first published by the UK government in 2015 and it was hoped that the North’s Executive would have a lower rate in place by April this year.

Although accountants still believe that lower corporation tax rates could help to transform the North’s economy, they now feel “the ship has sailed” on the campaign.

The society is one of the first professional bodies in Northern Ireland to acknowledge that the North’s corporation tax ambitions are unlikely to be realised.

Brexit

The report also notes that an “overwhelming majority” of members believe that the lack of a devolved Executive is having a negative effect on the economy.

It highlights political uncertainty, Brexit and cuts in government spending among the key negative factors for the economy, with 45 per of the society’s members expecting slow growth and 29 per cent predicting stagnation this year.

More than eight out of 10 accountants also believe that the political stalemate in the North is negatively affecting Northern Ireland’s position in Brexit negotiations.

The majority of the society’s members – 69 per cent – do not want to see a hard border on the island, while 64 per cent also want any potential Brexit deal to protect the Common Travel Area.