Report finds no preferential corporate tax regime in Ireland

The review was carried following an Apple tax ruling

Report finds no preferential corporate tax regime in Ireland

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe at the Department of Finance in Dublin | Image: Sam Boal/

A report of Ireland's corporation tax code has found there is no preferential tax regime for any one company.

The review was carried out by economics lecturer and Irish Fiscal Advisory Council member Seamus Coffey.

He was appointed as an independent expert in October 2016 to review our corporation tax code.

The terms of reference for the review included: tax transparency, avoiding preferential treatment, further implementing Ireland’s international commitments and maintaining the 12.5% corporation tax rate.

The review was ordered following the Apple tax ruling and differences in opinion from Independent ministers in Cabinet on how to proceed.

The European Commission ordered Apple to pay €13.9bn in backtaxes to Ireland.

An appeal taken by Apple and Ireland is ongoing.

The review states that an increase in Ireland's corporation tax receipts can be expected to be sustainable up to 2020.

It also finds that Ireland has reached the highest standards with regard to tax transparency.

It says this has been further confirmed by the recent awarding to Ireland by the OECD's Global Forum of the highest international rating on tax transparency and exchange of information.

The report says: The FHTP (OECD Forum on Harmful Tax Practices) evaluated the KDB (Knowledge Development Box) to determine whether it was compliant with the modified nexus standard and, therefore, not a harmful preferential tax regime.

"The KDB was approved by the FHTP on November 2nd 2016.

"The KDB was also evaluated by the EU Code of Conduct (Business Taxation) Group, to establish whether it was a compliant with the nexus standard and not a potentially harmful tax regime.

"The Code of Conduct (Business Taxation) Group concluded that the KDB was not harmful, as confirmed in their report to the June 2017 ECOFIN Council meeting."

The review also makes a number of recommendations, including:

  • Scrutiny of proposed measures to meet OECD and EU standards on preferential treatment
  • Supporting the EU Directive on mandatory disclosure in line with OECD recommendations
  • The passage of the Taxation and Certain Other Matters (International Mutual Assistance) Bill through Dáil and Seanad Éireann
  • Updating and expanding the scope of Ireland’s transfer pricing regime
  • Consideration of whether to change to a territorial tax system
  • Enhancement of the resources of the Revenue Commissioners to deal with international dispute resolution

The review also recommends a "detailed consultation process" with the relevant stakeholders.

Publishing the review, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said: "I welcome this comprehensive review which presents an overall positive message for our corporate tax code.

"The review provides a clear road map and timeframe for Ireland to implement important international reforms."

"I welcome the emphasis given in the review to the importance of certainty, which is core to our corporate tax offering.

"Our 12.5% corporation tax rate remains the bedrock of our competitive corporation tax regime and that is not going to change."

"This report like any other matter in relation to taxation is subject to discussion by Cabinet".

"Apple may have provided some of the context to this report, but the terms of reference did not include reference to any particular case.

"And for the work that Seamus (Coffey) has done, which is very thorough, he concludes that there's no evidence to suggest that Ireland has offered preferential tax treatment to any one company".

Read the report in full here