Ireland joins OECD international tax agreement

Ireland's Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

Ireland has finally dropped its opposition to the OECD overhaul of global corporate tax rules and has agreed to give up its low 12.5% tax for large multinational corporations.

Ireland made the decision as the OECD’s proposed minimum effective tax rate of “at least 15%” — which was an “open issue” — was set to a “precise” rate of 15%.

Ireland has agreed to a global minimum effective corporation tax rate of 15% for multinationals with revenues in excess of €750 million — with no change to the 12.5% rate for businesses with revenues below €750 million.

Ireland is a low-tax European headquarters for global companies including Apple, Google and Facebook.

“Joining this agreement is an important decision for the next stage of Ireland’s industrial policy – a decision that will ensure that Ireland is part of the solution,” Ireland’s Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told a press conference.

“This is a difficult and complex decision but I believe it is the right one.”

Donohoe said in a statement: “The Government has given approval today for Ireland to sign up to the political agreement at the OECD Inclusive Framework on a new tax framework to address the tax challenges of digitalisation …

‘‘The agreement provides that the minimum effective rate for multinationals with an annual revenue in excess of €750 million is 15%.

“We have secured the removal of ‘at least’ in the text.

“This will provide the critical certainty for Government and industry and will provide the long-term stability and certainty to business in the context of investment decisions.

“This 15% rate will apply to 56 Irish multinationals employing approximately 100,000 people, and 1500 foreign owned MNEs based in Ireland employed approximately 400,000 people.

“Furthermore, the vast majority of businesses in Ireland will be outside the scope of this agreement, and there will be no change to their corporation tax rate.

“This is important for the domestic economy and the thousands of SMEs that operate here.

“For over 160,000 businesses in Ireland with a turnover less than €750 million per annum, who employ approximately 1.8 million people, there will be no change to their corporation tax rate of 12.5% …

“‘I am confident that Ireland will remain competitive into the future, and we will remain an attractive location and ‘best in class’ when multi-nationals look to investment locations.

“These multinational enterprises support our economy with high value jobs and at the same time, Ireland provides a stable platform and a long proven track record of success for MNEs choosing to invest here.”