Important for Ireland's reputation that it signs corporate tax deal, says Minister

The international agreement aims to set corporation tax at a minimum of 15% and would end Ireland's 12.5% rate
Important for Ireland's reputation that it signs corporate tax deal, says Minister

Reuters

A senior Minister said on Tuesday it was important for Ireland's reputation that it ultimately joins an international agreement to set corporation tax at a minimum of 15 per cent.

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan said he was confident the Government would sign up to the overhaul of global corporate tax rules this week after updated proposals were circulated to negotiating countries.

Ireland, the low-tax European headquarters for a number of the world's largest multinationals, has declined to sign up to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) deal backed by all bar a handful of countries involved.

Ireland chiefly opposed the introduction of a proposed minimum global rate of "at least" 15 per cent, and in particular the phrase "at least", which it says would undermine the certainty its 12.5 per cent rate has given companies for years.

"I'm hopeful and confident that we will be able to be part of the solution here... I'm hopeful we will be able to sign up," Mr Ryan, who is also the leader of the junior coalition Green Party, told RTÉ.

Decision time

Ministers are due to decide whether or not to back the deal on Thursday.

Agreement from Ireland, one of the countries that has benefited most from low corporate taxes, would be a big boost for the project to impose a minimum global rate. Multinationals like Google, Facebook and Apple directly employ more than one in 10 Irish workers.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar struck a similarly optimistic note on Monday, saying the revised proposals responded "to a lot, if not all" of Ireland's concerns.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, who will recommend to Cabinet whether or not Ireland should sign up, said progress had been made but further engagement was needed.

We are making some progress

He confirmed on Monday night that he had received a new draft text of the agreement from the OECD, the international organisation that is co-ordinating the efforts to reform the way multinational companies are taxed around the world.

Speaking in Luxembourg at a gathering of EU finance ministers, Mr Donohoe said: “We are making some progress, but there is a need for further engagement both with the OECD, with the commission. All of that is under way.

“The Government will form a view on this matter later on in the week, and at that point I’ll be in a position then to confirm the Irish position on this important matter.”

Ireland is one of a small number of countries which has so far refused to sign up to the agreement, and has been facing fierce pressure from the European Union, the United States and elsewhere to abandon its traditional low rate of corporation tax.

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