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Calls for tax harmonisation could hit Ireland as US backs G20 reform plans

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U.S Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew attends the Joint G20 and B20 Infrastructure Roundtable, as part of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Sydney February 21, 2014.

U.S Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew attends the Joint G20 and B20 Infrastructure Roundtable, as part of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Sydney February 21, 2014.

REUTERS

U.S Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew attends the Joint G20 and B20 Infrastructure Roundtable, as part of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Sydney February 21, 2014.

The US threw its weight behind a push to make global taxation reform a key goal for the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies, supporting moves to close loopholes used by major multinationals to avoid tax.

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew backed the need for tax harmonisation, saying yesterday that all nations should adopt the automatic exchange of information as a global standard. Any move to harmonise tax could hit Ireland, which is home to many foreign multinationals, which use our tax code to avoid taxes at home.

"The G20's work on tax co-operation is among our most important new initiatives," Mr Lew said, ahead of the weekend meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers.

Australia, as host of the meeting and one of the most heavily reliant countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on corporate tax receipts, is pushing for reform.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde singled out accounting for revenues from new global digitised businesses such as Google and Apple as a "big ongoing problem".

Ms Lagarde called for a radical rethink of international tax arrangements.

Irish Independent