Ireland ready to participate in corporation tax deal “if it is in our best interests”


Ireland needs assurances that a global minimum corporate tax rate will not be changed and will be implemented by all countries that join it, said tánaist Leo Varadkar.

The Minister of Enterprise and Trade made the remarks as he addressed an audience – including representatives of US companies – at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC.

His visit comes amid enormous uncertainty over the future of Ireland’s 12.5 percent corporate tax rate. Ireland is under pressure to sign an OECD deal that would see the introduction of a minimum headline rate of at least 15 percent, but when Mr Varadkar was later told that the time of the 12.5 percent rate was over, he did not accept that this was necessarily the case.

“I can’t say that at this point. As it stands, we don’t have an international corporation tax agreement.

Mr Varadkar added that Ireland was willing to join “if it is in our best interests” but said: “We are not going to allow a situation where there is an agreement and some countries are implementing it. and some don’t, so there’s still a long way to go on that, I think.

The government is likely to agree to an increase in the corporate tax rate in Ireland, but only if the OECD limits the text to “15 per cent” and not to “at least 15 per cent”.

Two day trip

Mr Varadkar, who uses the two-day trip to tell businesses Ireland remains a ‘fantastic’ place for investment, was asked at the CSIS event about what Ireland would need to sign the OECD agreement.

He said Ireland’s position, like those of other governments, is that the setting of tax rates is a “sovereign matter” and “we would be very reluctant to deviate from that principle … that is why we keep the possibility of not participating in any international agreement.

“It is not our preference,” he added. “We prefer to be in the tent.

Mr Varadkar said the low corporate tax rate in Ireland “has worked very well for us”, but said “it’s not just the rate, it’s reliability” and how it is. remained the same during times of boom and bust.

He said this has enabled companies investing over 30 or 40 years in Ireland to “know the rules”.

“Among the things that would worry us, there would be this idea that it would be at least 15%, because then it could increase,” he said.

Will not change

Mr Varadkar said Ireland would like to know that any agreed minimum overall corporate tax rate “is the rate and it will stay at that rate” and will not change in five or 10 years.

“We would certainly need to be assured that it would be effectively implemented by all the countries which subscribed to it”, he added.

Mr. Varadkar stressed that such an agreement would have to pass through the US Congress, the European Parliament and national parliaments.

“So we have to know that everyone was doing it,” he said.

On Brexit, Mr Varadkar said the Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol have “guaranteed that we avoid the worst of what Brexit could have done to us”.

He said he still hopes the ongoing dispute over the protocol can be resolved in a “calm and sensible manner” that does not result in a “confrontation.”

Mr Varadkar was due to discuss trade with his counterparts in the Biden administration last night.


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