Ireland one of nine countries not to sign OECD corporate tax statement – source

FILE PHOTO: Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe is welcomed by German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (not pictured) at the Informal Meeting of Ministers for Economics and Financial Affairs in Berlin, Germany, September 11, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Pool

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland on Thursday declined to sign a statement backed by 130 of 139 countries negotiating a global overhaul of cross-border taxation of multinationals at the Paris-based OECD, a source with knowledge of the meeting told Reuters.

The office of Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, who is negotiating on behalf of Ireland at the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, did not respond to a request for comment.

The statement by the 130 countries said backed plans for a tax rate of at least 15% and taxing more of the profits of the biggest multinationals in countries where the profits are earned.

The source said Ireland at the meeting expressed broad agreement with the statement but reservation around setting a rate of at least 15%.

With a rate of 12.5% that has helped attract some of the biggest multinationals to the country, Ireland has more to lose than most from the overhaul.

Donohoe, who is also president of euro zone’s grouping of finance ministers, has repeatedly said he wants any deal to allow small countries like Ireland to be able to use tax competition as a lever to compensate for the natural advantages enjoyed by larger countries in attracting jobs and large investments.

Critics say low-tax countries like Ireland and Luxembourg enjoy a disproportionate amount of multinational investment, with multinationals employing one in eight Irish workers.

Donohoe has also said he anticipated any final deal would allow companies to offset part of their tax bills through research and development, an important aspect for Ireland.

Donohoe was due to hold a press briefing at 1800 GMT on the issue, his office said in a statement.

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