American Chamber of Commerce disappointed with tax comments by US politicans

Wednesday 12 June 2013 22.19
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US Chamber of Commerce says 'regrettable' that Ireland has been name checked so heavily in recent US Senate hearings
US Chamber of Commerce says 'regrettable' that Ireland has been name checked so heavily in recent US Senate hearings
Michael Noonan says there is unfair pressure being put on Ireland
Michael Noonan says there is unfair pressure being put on Ireland

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland has expressed disappointment with recent comments by US politicians on Ireland's tax regime.

The chamber's president Peter Keegan said that it was ''regrettable'' that Ireland has been name checked so heavily in the recent US Senate hearings.

''The substantive nature of the operations that US companies have in Ireland and the longevity of their investment has been largely ignored,'' he added.

Mr Keegan said Ireland should continue to contribute to debates within the EU, OECD and others with a view to "realising greater transparency from international tax structures".

He added that "we must not allow knee jerk reactions to the current news cycle''.

Meanwhile Taoiseach Enda Kenny has denied that Ireland is a tax haven and said the country "did not operate a brass plate" system. 

He said the Government had written to US senators stating country had a 12.5% Corporation Tax rate and an effective rate of 11.9% according to a World Bank report.

Earlier, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that Ireland will not reform its tax system unilaterally to allay concerns that it allows multinational companies to avoid taxes.

The country has been forced to defend its tax arrangements after the US Senate heard last month that Apple had paid little or no tax on tens of billions of dollars in profits channelled through Irish subsidiaries.

"It's unfair to put pressure on Ireland to move because any move we make will be of no consequence," Mr Noonan told journalists in Dublin, adding that it would welcome multilateral action.

"There is nothing in the tax code that we can do," the minister added.

EU plans to increase sharing of tax information

The European Commission has published proposed legislation to increase the amount of information national tax authorities would share with each other.

The Commission said the legislation is another step towards reducing the scope for tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance schemes by individuals and companies.

It would mean EU states would share with each other the same information they have committed to sharing with the US tax authorities under the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Ireland has already signed the FATCA treaty with the US.

There are already two pieces of legislation which provide for the sharing of tax information within the EU. These new proposals would provide for the automatic sharing of information on dividends, capital gains, bank account balances and other financial information from the start of 2015.

This adds to the existing Administration Co-operation Directive, which provides for automatic exchange of information on employment, directors' fees, life insurance, pensions and property holdings. This directive is also due to start in 2015.

Another law, the EU Savings Tax directive - in place since 2005 - provides for information exchange on non-resident bank account holders, collecting information and automatically sending the details to the EU state where the account holder actually resides.

A further strengthening of this directive is also under consideration, and is expected to be adopted by member states by the end of the year.

Last month's EU summit called for more automatic exchange of information at EU and global level to combat tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning.