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OECD's tax overhaul plans put 'double Irish' in spotlight

Both the scope and the force of the OECD proposals to overhaul global business tax rules herald change to the contested Irish regime. At issue now is the magnitude of the eventual change and its timing.

In downtown Paris yesterday, in the glassy headquarters of the OECD, its chief ngel Gurra described the campaign to eradicate aggressive avoidance by big companies as a moral drive to ensure fair bvlgari ring rose gold replica play.

"These practices erode the integrity of our tax systems, damage the capabilities of our governments, diminish the growth potential of our economies and corrode the trust of our citizens in the institutions that we created in the past 100 years," he told reporters.

Deprived of resources "Tax evasion and avoidance have been depriving our governments of precious resources for decades now. In the past years, our governments have been struggling to find the resources to jumpstart growth, to exit the crisis and to promote more and better jobs, while base erosion and profit shifting [Beps] was going on and weakened these efforts."

In the line of fire are schemes firms use to ensure they pay as little tax on their profit as they can get away with, be it in EU countries such as Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, or in secretive havens where there is nothing of substance going on in a copy bvlgari ring rose gold business sense, little or no tax is paid and no questions are asked.

It is a given that this is acutely sensitive for Ireland, which has suffered reputational damage over Google's "double Irish" arrangement and Apple's controversial tax strategy.

Although successive Irish governments have been pressurised on this front, they each managed to defend the 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate. In Government circles right now, however, there is a growing sense that time is running out for schemes such as the "double Irish". Debate persists as to whether Minister for Finance Michael Noonan moves in the budget next month or waits until later. This, however, is a matter of timing. The trick is to unwind the most egregious measures without dimming Ireland's lustre as a first rate European location for inward investment. Easy to say, but difficult to do.

Alive to political pressure The case is made, however, that global business is alive to the political pressure and sees merit in taking itself out of damaging headlines over tax. In Dublin and in the OECD, indeed, the argument is also advanced that opportunities will open up for countries with well developed inward investment systems if firms move away from disreputable havens.

The OECD plan has its origins in political concern that multinationals are not paying enough tax. It was amid disquiet at enormous public bailouts of the global banking system and news that some big name consumer brands were paying next to no tax on profits that the question crept to the top of the agenda.

US president Barack Obama was present at the Group of Eight summit at Lough Erne last year when global leaders directed the OECD to develop proposals.

Confront the excesses The package unveiled yesterday is not binding on governments but it embraces measures to confront the excesses of exotic instruments such as hybrid mismatch arrangements and the abuse of tax treaties. There are proposals dealing with the transfer pricing of intangible assets and measures, which would oblige companies to make public reports on a country by country basis on distribution of income and tax payments.

While the operational detail of individual schemes can be fiendishly complex, the basic idea is to move a company's liability for tax on profits into jurisdictions knock off bvlgari wedding ring in which the tax charges are very, very low.

Still, it remains to be seen whether the combined might of global commerce will bend to political will. Previous efforts have run aground. Obama had plenty to say knock off bvlgari serpenti ring about corporate tax reform when he took office in 2009, but little happened.

The geopolitical situation has changed since the Co Fermanagh summit and priorities have shifted. The G8 has become the G7 again following Vladimir Putin's ejection over Ukraine. The Islamic State rampage in Iraq is a further cause of concern to leaders who might otherwise be transfixed by taxation.

Still, Gurra made it clear that OECD members and members of the Group of 20 industrialised and developing nations will seek a deal next January on a mandate to negotiate a binding multilateral plan.

Although countries such as Ireland are under pressure to take unilateral action, it is only through collective action that the global community can win the battle.

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By PKKOO5
Added Aug 19 '17

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