Global media react positively to ending of ‘double Irish’

Ending of controverial tax arrangement scheme reported widely across the world

The Government’s decision to end the controversial “double Irish” tax arrangement used by multinationals to slash their tax bills has received prominent coverage in the news and media around the world.

Most of the British broadsheets covered the announcement with the Guardian noting that Michael Noonan's move may pre-empt crackdown measures hinted at by the UK chancellor George Osborne last month.

The Financial Times also saw the ending of the arrangement as a pre-emptive step to get ahead of a growing international campaign to clamp down on corporate tax avoidance.

The London Times referred to the ending of a "tax avoidance wheeze."

The Daily Telegraph referred to Dublin's decision to call time on "a loophole famously used by several tech giants." It also noted a number of other measures which it said were unveiled ahead of an election in 18 months time.

In its coverage, the Daily Mail noted how the phrasing out of the "Double Irish" tax arrangement could cost US firms such as Apple and Google billions of dollars.

The Government’s decision to end the “double Irish” scheme also received prominent coverage in the US news and financial media.

The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg along with business magazines Fortune and Forbes covered the budgetary announcement, drawing links to the increasing international pressure on governments to clamp down on tax avoidance by companies.

The articles referred to the use of the tax loophole by American companies including Apple, Google, LinkedIn and other large multinational and technology companies.

The Wall Street Journal said in a report headlined “Dublin moves to block controversial tax gambit” that Ireland was “targeting a manoeuvre Apple and other companies have used to minimise taxes - a move aimed at countering international criticism”.

The New York Times quoted a US law professor at the University of Southern California Edward Kleinbard describing the measure as a "canny strategic move" by the Irish Government to ease international concerns and at the same time preserving "its extraordinarily low corporate tax rate".

Another academic, accountancy professor Crawford Spence at Warwick Business School in Coventry, England was cited by the newspaper as saying that the decision to phase out the tax device was "an apparent capitulation" by the Government.

“However, I am sceptical as to how big a deal this really is,” Spence was quoted as saying. “Ireland, along with other countries such as Luxembourg and the Netherlands, are at the lunatic fringe of the corporate tax regimes.”

In a story headlined “Ireland closes notorious ‘Double Irish’ tax loophole,” Fortune magazine described the end of the scheme as “a landmark in the clampdown by governments across the world on tax dodges by both individuals and companies”.

Forbes picked a drinking analogy for the headline on its report on the story: "Ireland corks Double Irish tax deal, closing time for Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, "

Robert Wood, an editorial contributor on taxes and litigation to the magazine, said that the "liberal phasing-in" of the "double Irish" abolition from 2015 to 2020 "may make the US and EU mad but it seems a shrewd move to keep the Irish economy moving".

"Besides there will be new tax deals to be had in Ireland," he wrote, referring to the plans announced by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to introduce a "patent box" type of tax break to encourage companies to hold their intellectual property in the country and invest in research and development facilities in Ireland.

“Tax people will be scrambling to create new structures, but there’s some breathing room,” wrote Mr Wood. “And when new structures are developed, I’ll bet Ireland will have a role.”

The ending to the “Double Irish” was widely reported in the German media with Spiegel, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the leading business publication Handelsblatt all covering it.

A number of international technology-focused publications including ZDNet and the Register also carried reports on the ending of the controversial arrangement.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist