Shane Ross

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Ireland: A Tax Haven?

Posted on: November 23rd, 2005

A large head of steam is building up on both sides of the Atlantic, and has been prominent in the media in the past few days, concerning the activities of multinationals in this country and the tax rate they enjoy. It appears, because of what is happening in the United States, and here as well, that there is danger in the undergrowth of some fundamental change in the treatment of multinationals, not necessarily in Ireland, but in the United States.

A presidential commission is looking at their taxation regimes and what is known as transfer pricing, which is their means of not repatriating money back to America. There have been a number of high profile cases involving at least one person, I will not name him, taking large sums of money through a perfectly legitimate tax loophole. The problem is that Ireland may be looked upon by the United States as a tax haven, and is being referred to as such in the Wall Street Journal.

There will be calls on this side of the Atlantic for the 12.5% corporation tax to be raised. We should be alerted to the fact that extremely important implications are involved for the economy in the event of any change in the rules applying to multinationals and we should hold a debate on the matter. People should be warned that this is one of the most important parts of the economy. The Government should be aware of that and should take the necessary measures to protect us from any attack on that tax break.