Belfast Telegraph

Corporation tax may not be devolved by April 2018 due to Stormont collapse admit government officials

By John Mulgrew

The April 2018 date to devolve corporation tax to Northern Ireland “may slip” because of the collapse of the power-sharing institutions government officials have conceded, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

And despite months of attracting major foreign investment on the premise than we will have a cheaper 12.5% rate by April next year, Invest NI has admitted it will “amend its international sales and marketing activity to reflect this”.

The cut-rate business levy was backed and sold by former First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, alongside Invest NI.

It's been used as one of the main marketing tools by Invest NI, in order to sell Northern Ireland to major international investors.

The campaign even drafted in Ballymena's own Hollywood superstar Liam Neeson, who said “the commitment of the Northern Ireland Executive to reduce the rate of corporation tax to 12.5% from April 2018 really is a potential game-changer for our economy”.

A spokesman for the Department of Finance, told the Belfast Telegraph: "DoF and Department for Economy are committed to the introduction of a reduced corporation tax rate of 12.5% in line with the commitment in the Fresh Start Agreement, which is still guiding the activities of Invest NI in promoting foreign direct investment.

“However, we recognise the fact that the conditions for implementation are not in place at the present time and as a result the proposed implementation date of April 2018 may now slip.

“It will be for incoming ministers to decide on the steps needed to confirm the timing of introduction of the reduced rate and agree an implementation plan."

And Invest NI has said it is still actively using the devolution and lower rate of corporation as a selling point for investment.

A spokeswoman told the Belfast Telegraph: “The intention to reduce the rate of corporation tax remains and we will therefore continue to highlight this to potential investors.”

“The statement issued today by the Department of Finance has indicated that the proposed implementation date of April 2018 may now slip.

“We will therefore amend our international sales and marketing activity to reflect this. We will continue to promote the commitment to a reduced rate and the additional benefit this will have on investment projects and will await on incoming Ministers to confirm the timing of implementation.”

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