How money passing through Irish shell companies costs the world's poorest countries

A report from ActionAid says Western tax loopholes are taking taxes away from developing states

How money passing through Irish shell companies costs the world's poorest countries

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Ireland's tax treaties are costing developing countries millions of euro according to a new report - the country ranked joint lowest in the survey with Russia.

The study by ActionAid examined the effects of 500 international tax deals agreements and their impact on lower income countries.

According to the report, 47% of Ireland's foreign direct investment is said to be routed through shell companies.

ActionAid says that Ireland has three tax treaties that dramatically restrict lower income countries' power to tax global companies doing business on their soil and therefore unfairly limits their country’s potential to collect tax revenue.

It cited one example between 2007 and 2012 when $10.4m was lost by the Zambian exchequer when a loophole allowed money to be passed through an Irish shell company - it adds that this amount of money is the equivalent of providing over 18,000 school places in the African state.

Siobhán McGee, CEO of ActionAid Ireland called for action to be taken to close these loopholes: "Outdated and unfair treaties make it possible for multinational companies to significantly reduce the tax they pay in lower income countries.

"We urge the Irish Government to adopt the UN Model as a minimum standard. And we urgently call for much greater transparency around how Irish treaties are drafted. This really matters because women and children in poverty pay the price when crumbling public services like schools and hospitals are starved of possible revenue."