Ireland is not a tax haven –Hayes
Brian Hayes MEP today strongly reiterated the view from the OECD that Ireland is not a tax haven and does not fulfil any criteria associated with tax havens.
“Accusations in the international media accusing Ireland of being a tax haven are being thrown around like confetti at a wedding. As a country we need to stand up and defend our reputation. “Ireland is not a tax haven. Ireland’s tax codes adhere to international standards”- these are the words of Dr Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the OECD speaking in 2013. Pascal Saint-Amans, head of OECD taxation policy, said in 2013 at an Oireachtas sub-committee on Taxation that Ireland did not fulfil any of the relevant criteria for the OECD to class this state as a tax haven.
“Ireland already has bilateral taxation treaties with more than 70 countries. None of those countries regard Ireland as tax haven. The Irish Tax system is based on statute and enforced by a completely independent Revenue Commissioners. Irish Corporation Tax policy has been an essential element in attracting big multinationals to Ireland. Currently about 20% of private sector workers are employed directly or indirectly by international companies. During the past 25 years total employment in Ireland has increased from one million to more than two million.
“Was the Irish corporation too generous in the past – yes it was. Should big multinationals pay more tax – yes they should. Over the past three years Michael Noonan made significant changes to the Corporation Tax code. He abolished the Double Irish regime, he changed residency rules so that companies could no longer declare branches ‘stateless’ entities and he ensured that Ireland was at the forefront of the OECD tax modernisation agenda.
“The Corporation Tax take has increased dramatically in Ireland. In 2014 Corporation Tax was €4.6 billion. This year, it is expected to reach €8 billion. That is equivalent to around 15% of all tax collected in Ireland. The OECD average of Corporation Tax as a percentage of total tax is around 9%.
“Tax policy is political – Tim Cook, Apple CEO, is certainly correct in this. The EU Commission is using Competition Law in an attempt to influence national Tax Law, which is the sole prerogative of national governments; the EU treaties are very clear on this point.
“Writing in The Guardian this week, Neelie Kroes, former EU competition commissioner branded the Apple determination as “fundamentally unfair”. She went on to say “EU member states have a sovereign right to determine their own tax laws. EU State Aid rules cannot be used to rewrite these laws. The current state aid investigations into tax rulings appear to do exactly that.”
“The government must defend the integrity of its Tax Code and defend the sovereignty of its tax policies and the country from an effort to undermine a very successful industrial policy.”