Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ireland not a tax haven, says OECD

Pascal Saint-Amans: keynote speaker at tax conference
Pascal Saint-Amans: keynote speaker at tax conference
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRELAND is not a tax haven, and there is little this country can do on its own to amend global tax laws, a senior OECD official said yesterday.

Speaking at an Oireachtas sub-committee on global taxation, the OECD's director of its centre for tax policy and administration Pascal Saint-Amans said definitively that Ireland did not fill any of the relevant criteria for the OECD to class this state as a tax haven.

"The definition for a tax haven that was internationally agreed classes it as a country with a zero tax rate, no transparency or exchange of information, and no real operations on the ground there," he said in response to a query from Fianna Fail's Michael McGrath.

"Clearly Ireland does not fill those criteria," he said.

Mr Saint-Amans said that the problems with the global tax system could not be addressed by a single country on its own.

"These issues must be decided at an international level. A country can make some changes to its own laws, but there is little scope for significant changes to be made unilaterally. This problem needs a multilateral solution, he said.

Mr Saint-Amans's appearance via video link – a first for the Oireachtas – came less than a week after the OECD published a new report into global corporate tax avoidance.

That report made a number of recommendations that would force companies to pay more tax, but he made it clear those recommendations did not favour large countries over small or vice-versa.

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