Ireland actively facilitates firms in avoiding tax, report finds

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Ireland is among the most active countries in facilitating corporations moving profits to low- or zero-tax destinations, according to a new report from Debt and Development Coalition Ireland.

The State is also responsible for imposing the largest losses in corporation tax on developing countries with which it has double taxation treaties, according to the report entitled Tax Games: the Race to the Bottom – Europe’s Role in Supporting an Unjust Global Tax System 2017.

The report, published on Monday, was co-ordinated by the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), a group of 46 non-governmental organisations across 19 European countries. The Irish material was provided by the Debt and Development Coalition.

Using a traffic-light system to rate 18 EU member states as well as the EU Parliament and the European Commission, Ireland is one of just two states to show as red in all five categories – transparency on beneficial ownership; support for country-by-country reporting; tax treaties; harmful tax practices; and global solutions. The Netherlands was the other.

The report says EU governments and institutions are engaged in a “race to the bottom” on corporate taxation, “including through lowering corporate tax rates and using harmful tax practices that facilitate corporate tax avoidance”.

Noting the relatively greater importance of corporation tax revenues for developing countries, it is particularly critical of restrictive tax treaties that aggressively lower corporate tax rates in developing countries.

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