Proposal to lure emigrants home with tax savings is 'just not going to fly' - Eddie Hobbs

Skilled graduates and entrepreneurs living abroad could be offered a special 30% tax rate for several years

Proposal to lure emigrants home with tax savings is 'just not going to fly' - Eddie Hobbs


Highly skilled workers may be lured back to Ireland with a tax break in the next Budget.

The Irish Independent claims graduates and entrepreneurs in areas such as IT and medicine could be offered a special 30% rate for a set period - despite earning more than €75,000 a year.

The newspaper suggests the plan has been devised by Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Kevin Doyle is the Group Political Editor for Independent News and Media, and told Newstalk Breakfast about how the Government is hoping to justify the move.

"It'll be a finite period, so it's not as if they're going to be on a 30% effective tax rate for the rest of their lives - it'll probably be around five years.

"The other thing I suppose is there are plenty of mammies and daddies who would love to see this come in if they thought little Johnny or Mary might come home on the back of it," he argued.

However, financial advisor Eddie Hobbs says the proposal "has all of the aerodynamics of a flying brick" and is unlikely to be welcomed by those who stayed behind during the tough recession years.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Eddie argued: "To be told that workers like carpenters, plumbers, electricians, bus & train drivers, gardaí and all the rest of us aren't skilled enough or important enough to earn this particular tax break is crazy.

"It's not for the common good, that's the problem [...] This is a tacit admission by the Government that the so-called 'progressive' tax system that we have is fundamentally flawed."

He added that plan is "just not going to fly".

Fianna Fáil's Public Expenditure spokesperson Dara Calleary said he would have "grave concerns" about the proposal, although would like to see more details.

"We do need to bring high-skilled people back, but the best way to do that is a fair tax system for everybody," he said.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Peter Cosgrove - director of CPL - acknowledged that "we are short of people within certain sectors."

However, he argued that while he likes the approach of "bringing people back to create more jobs, more opportunities [and] build new businesses", he does not see "how the inequality would work" with a special tax rate.

"You cannot have two people sitting beside each other, knowing one is doing better tax-wise," he observed.