Diarmaid Ferriter: Semantics and Ireland’s tax status

Department of Finance persists in denying Ireland is world’s biggest tax haven

International Financial Services Centre: Team Ireland has constantly dismissed the description of Ireland as a tax haven, even when the extent of that haven is patently obvious.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

International Financial Services Centre: Team Ireland has constantly dismissed the description of Ireland as a tax haven, even when the extent of that haven is patently obvious. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

If the Department of Finance is to be believed, there must be an awful lot of eejits slaving away on academic research projects about tax.

Economists at Berkeley and Copenhagen have concluded that Ireland is the biggest “tax haven” in the world used by multinationals to “shelter” profits. Foreign multinationals shifted $106 billion (€91 billion) of corporate profits to Ireland in 2015, according to these academics. This was the same year the former minister for finance Michael Noonan announced the phased closure of the “Double Irish”, which allowed companies to move profits to tax havens, with a transition period for existing companies until 2020. The department dismissed the findings in the recent report relating to Ireland as “overly simplistic . . . Ireland is not a tax haven and does not meet any of the international standards for being considered such”.

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