Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is to meet European commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager in Brussels on Monday to discuss "taxation issues", according to a statement from the Department of Finance. The meeting comes as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) corporate tax reform programme enters a vital week.
Mr Donohoe has embarked on a round of discussions with finance ministers on the issue. While the meeting with Ms Vestager is also understood to concern wider taxation issues, the two are certain to discuss the OECD process, with a vital meeting due on Friday of the 140 countries involved to try to reach a final draft agreement.
Ireland has been pushing to get more clarity on the proposed level of a new global minimum corporate tax rate included in the deal. A draft deal, which said the rate would be "at least 15 per cent" does not offer enough clarity, Mr Donohoe has said. He is also likely to seek assurances that the EU would not seek to impose a higher minimum rate for its member states after an OECD deal.
The Government is also exploring whether, if a minimum 15 per cent rate is agreed for multinationals, Ireland’s existing 12.5 per cent rate could be retained for domestic businesses. This would require a sign-off from the commission and specifically from the competition directorate.
Ireland is waiting to see final draft documents from the OECD which Mr Donohoe said last week were expected in the “coming days”. Indications are that there may be some hold-up in finalising these. This may relate in part to uncertainty about whether the Biden administration can get key legislation through the US Congress which includes measures related to the OECD deal, with a key vote on a massive infrastructure Bill now delayed.
After Brussels. Donohoe is travelling to Luxembourg where he will chair a meeting of the Eurogroup of finance ministers which will discuss the economic outlook including the issue of energy prices.