The super-rich – taxing extreme wealth

Gap between rich and poor

Sir, – Business This Week offered not one, but two articles on the super-rich that bolster Oxfam Ireland’s call for a national discussion on how best to tax extreme wealth. First there was “Next generation of billionaires collect more wealth from inheritance than work, says UBS” (December 1st).

Then Cliff Taylor, correctly in our view, identified the taxing of wealth as a major area “where the big remaining inequities in our tax system lie” (“The slightly rich pay their taxes these days, but what about the super-rich?”, Business, Analysis, December 1st).

This conclusion followed his analysis of how our tax obligations have evolved greatly since the murky days of the 1980s. He notes innovations in the international exchange of information which now make taxing wealth more feasible.

Oxfam Ireland has called for a national citizens’ assembly-style forum to discuss the best way to tax wealth in Ireland. We want to consider the various proposals and to reach a consensus that is widely perceived as fair and protected from the sectoral interests of political party policymaking.


Suggestions on taxation have been made by the Commission on Taxation and Welfare, Oxfam Ireland and others. They all have merits and the matter becomes more pressing by the day.

Our research shows that inequality, the gap between rich and poor is turbo-charged in recent years. This is a threat to the planet, the people on it and democracy itself.

All the signs are there, and the voices supporting a wealth tax internationally now includes the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Oxfam’s position has been laid out in our annual Davos reports, our budget submissions and, above all, in our insistence on making rich polluters pay for the climate emergency through wealth taxes at COP28.

We look forward to more and varied voices joining this important debate. – Yours, etc,


Senior Policy and Research Coordinator,

Oxfam Ireland,


Dublin 4.