‘Ireland is not a tax haven,’ says OECD chief

Tánaiste says effective rate of tax close to the headline figure

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore  insisted that Ireland’s tax regime was open and “statute-based”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore insisted that Ireland’s tax regime was open and “statute-based”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Dan Keenan

Ireland is not a tax haven and never has been a tax haven”, OECD secretary-general Dr Angel Gurría has said.

He was responding an announcement made in Brussels that investigations are being mounted into Ireland’s arrangement for taxing multinationals. Ireland, along with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, have been asked to supply details of arrangements for tax rulings and to provide details of assurances given to several specific companies.

A formal investigation into alleged “sweetners” could follow.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore insisted that Ireland’s tax regime was open and “statute-based”. He said his understanding was that the inquiry was part of an “information-gathering exercise which is done from time to time”.

“It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the tax affairs of individual companies,” he said, adding that Ireland had a “consistent” rate of corporation tax. The OECD report on Ireland, presented by its secretary-general Dr Angel Gurría, showed that the effective rate of corporation tax was close to the headline rate for the tax, he claimed.

Ireland had agreed with plans, discussed at the G8 summit in Co Fermanagh last June, to crack down on international tax evasion.

“Tax evasion will be addressed by Ireland through international action,” he said.

Dr Gurría said his organisation now had more than 1,100 reports on corporation tax across the globe and he suggested the impression was reducing “that there is now nowhere to hide”.