DUBLIN (Reuters) – A senior Irish minister said on Tuesday he was confident the government would sign up to an overhaul of global corporate tax rules this week after updated proposals were circulated to negotiating countries.
Ireland, the low-tax European headquarters for a number of the world’s largest multinationals, has declined to sign up to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) deal backed by all bar a handful of countries involved.
Ireland chiefly opposed the introduction of a proposed minimum global rate of “at least” 15%, and in particular the phrase “at least” that it says would undermine the certainty its prized 12.5% rate has given companies for years.
“I’m hopeful and confident that we will be able to be part of the solution here… I’m hopeful we will be able to sign up.” Environment Minister Eamon Ryan, who is also the leader of the junior coalition Green Party, told national broadcaster RTE.
Ryan added that it was important for Ireland’s reputation that it ultimately joins the agreement. Ministers are due to decide whether or not to back the deal on Thursday.
Agreement from Ireland, one of the countries that has benefited most from low corporate taxes, would be a big boost for the project to impose a minimum global rate. Multinationals like Google, Facebook and Apple directly employ more than one in 10 Irish workers.
Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar struck a similarly optimistic note on Monday, saying the revised proposals responded “to a lot, if not all” of Ireland’s concerns.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, who will recommend to cabinet whether or not Ireland should sign up, said progress had been made but further engagement was needed.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin, editing by Ed Osmond)