The Irish Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI) has called for a 12.5% corporation tax rate in Northern Ireland to match that in the Republic.
The idea is a complete tax fiddler's charter, and you can be sure the ICAI knows it. Suddenly we'd have a self contained tax haven inside the UK. UK companies would be setting up Northern Ireland subsidiaries for their intellectual property, group finance, property holding and other such arrangements that involve no employment but allow profits to be shifted with ease. Avoidance will be rampant.
Or rather it would be without massive anti-avoidance legislation, total control of all transfer pricing arrangements to and from the Province and an effective closing down of free trade between the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland. That, the ICAI would no doubt say, would be wholly unjust.
Well you can't have it both ways.
This idea is barking mad. The ICAI is crazy to even suggest it. Surely its public duty is to make sure that Northern Ireland can trade on a fair footing with the UK, not through a trade barrier? It seems to have forgotten that and instead is suffering from the tax driven dementia that seems to afflict so many in my profession.