Varadkar signals Irish openness to OECD tax deal

Deputy premier says if Ireland raises its corporate tax rate, Irish firms would still pay existing rates.

Varadkar signals Irish openness to OECD tax deal

DUBLIN — Ireland doesn’t want to be seen as a tax haven and would prefer to be part of a new global agreement on corporate tax reform, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Tuesday.

In remarks designed to test Irish tolerance for a shift in policy, Varadkar emphasized that if Ireland were to hike its tax rate on corporate profits to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s proposed global minimum rate of 15 percent, its existing 12.5 percent rate would still apply to most Irish firms.

Varadkar and other ministers have previously stuck to Ireland’s two-decade policy of setting a 12.5 percent headline rate on corporate profits — the lowest in western Europe — and vowed never to negotiate it away.

But on Tuesday, after a weekly Cabinet meeting, Varadkar appeared to warm to the idea for the first time, saying that if Ireland were to join the OECD-brokered plan, a higher rate in Ireland would apply only to multinationals that report turnover exceeding €750 million annually. Only a handful of Ireland’s more than 10,000 registered companies would meet that threshold.

“Any agreement we may or may not sign up to won’t impact the average Irish business, won’t impact even any large Irish business, or mid-caps. The 12.5 percent rate will stay in place for them,” Varadkar said outside Dublin Castle.

The Irish government is due to publish its 2022 budget on October 12. In years past, the finance minister has always included a promise not to touch the 12.5 percent rate. It is seen as critical to wooing and building investment by the more than 700 American multinationals that have opened European operations here since the 1980s, including tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Google.

But when asked Monday to repeat that promise, Prime Minister Micheál Martin repeatedly declined.

Martin, currently in New York to take part in the United Nations General Assembly, said he could no longer give that assurance, citing Ireland’s ongoing behind-the-scenes negotiations with its EU and OECD partners.

In Dublin, Varadkar, who led Ireland’s previous government and will succeed Martin to become prime minister once again on December 15, said Ireland has maintained “leverage and negotiating power” by not joining the 134 countries already backing the OECD plan.

But in the longer term, he conceded, Ireland could suffer avoidable reputational damage as an OECD holdout.

“I think we’d certainly prefer to be part of any international agreement,” he said. “Ireland is not a tax haven, nor do we wish to be seen as a tax haven.”

Source : Politico EU More   

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British teenager’s parents win first battle in campaign to avenge his death

The death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn caused a diplomatic feud between the UK and the US.

British teenager’s parents win first battle in campaign to avenge his death

The family of Harry Dunn, a British teenager killed when his motorcycle was struck by the wife of a U.S. diplomat, have reached a “resolution” in a civil claim for damages.

A Virginia court had been asked to rule between Dunn’s parents and his alleged killer, Anne Sacoolas. The details of the verdict have not been made public, according to the BBC, but were hailed as a “milestone” by a Dunn family spokesperson.

“An agreement has been reached successfully between the parties and they can put this part of the campaign behind them,” said the spokesperson, Radd Seiger. “The family’s courage and determination to see this through has been incredible”.

“They will now turn their attention to the criminal case and the long-awaited inquest into Harry’s death which will follow the criminal case.”

Dunn was 19 years old when he died in a traffic accident outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire in August 2019. An apparent wrong-way driver struck the young man on his motorcycle, and Dunn died in the ensuing crash. The woman behind the wheel was Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. diplomat only three weeks into his U.K. posting. Following the accident, Sacoolas left the United Kingdom after being granted diplomatic immunity by the U.S. government, Sky News reported.

Public outrage at Sacoolas’ departure was channeled by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who described it early last year as a “denial of justice.“

In December 2020, the Crown Prosecution Service authorized Northamptonshire Police to charge Sacoolas with causing death by dangerous driving. But the subsequent extradition request for Sacoolas to be returned to the U.K. was rejected by the U.S. government, causing a diplomatic feud.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss stated that the resolution of the civil case was “absolutely not” the end of efforts to get Sacoolas back to the U.K. “We continue to press for justice for Harry,” she said.

Source : Politico EU More   

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