Today the Minister for Finance delivered one of the most important statements on Corporation Tax Policy in recent years. 

In it he put Ireland's business community on notice that further significant change is coming to the global corporate tax system and he said it is coming quickly.

The policy stance is a recognition that the dynamics of international tax change have themselves changed radically over the last eight or nine months and the key change has been in Washington, which is now firmly behind OECD efforts to change the rules under which so-called Digital Companies are taxed.

Mr Donohoe was in Paris at the OECD annual meeting yesterday, to advance the new Irish policy. 

His first port of call today was a conference on international tax organised by the Irish Taxation Institute and the Harvard Kennedy School. 

He told the delegates that after all the changes brought in by the OECD's BEPS process "it is very clear that further change is coming to the international tax system. This reality must be recognised and managed".

And he said:  "We must be open to considering and developing a broader concept of value creation which recognises that some value may arise from scale, from brands or from access to markets."

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He said the change could come by countries doing their own thing and risking trade wars and disruption to investment flows  or they could work together for a "balanced and appropriate reworking" of the international tax framework.

As a small open economy that is home to many of the biggest US digital companies and European operations, it’s no surprise at all that the Minister favours the latter approach, stating "a stable and consensus-based international tax framework is very important for Ireland".

The OECD is now looking at two policy areas, one the Irish are relatively comfortable with - a shakeup of the rules on governing who gets to tax a digital company and one they are not comfortable with - a global minimum effective tax rate.

The plan, as set out by the Minister today, is to engage very actively in the OECD process and try an influence it as much as possible. 

The key Irish objectives are to end up with a new set of rules that build on existing principles, notably the  alignment of taxing rights with value creation. 

The Minster said the final result "must ensure the bulk of profits remain taxable in exporting countries under the existing corporate tax framework".

The Digital Sales Tax and earlier plans, such as the EU CCCTB, sought to change the taxing right to the "importing" state. In other words, the tax was mostly due in the place where the product or service was sold or consumed, not where it was exported from.

Obviously for Ireland a small open economy that can only grow through exports, this is a vital issue. 

But it is also a vital issue for Germany, a large exporting country: if more taxing rights are granted to the market countries rather than the exporting countries the Germans too could lose revenue. 

And with the increasing blurring of the line between physical and digital companies (arguably every company is a digital company now, to some extent) and with Internet of Things on the way, most physical products from cars to dishwashers will contain digital services as an integral part of their offer, making it hard to separate the physical from the digital for tax purposes.

The issue of taxing the "digital Economy" was not included in the original BEPS (anti Base Erosion and Profit Shifting measures) plan, because nobody could agree on what the digital economy was or how to tax it. 

So the issue was set aside, and this time last year it looked like the issue was going to be trapped in the long grass for some time.

But it is back on the agenda as governments need revenue, and citizens get fed up with paying more taxes and reading about big multinationals not paying much at all.

Up to now most attention in Ireland has been focused on a French initiative to bring in a Digital Sales Tax across the EU. 

That effort foundered in part on Irish led opposition. A key argument made by the Irish was that digital commerce is a global phenomenon, and should be addressed at a global level by the OECD. 

This removed it from the EU, and placed it in the OECD's care

What was less expected was that the US would suddenly get interested in using the OECD as a way of increasing its tax take from US multinational technology companies.

By the start of this year it was clear that a new effort to change the rules was under way, this time fully backed by the Trump administration.

PWC Ireland Managing Partner Feargal O'Rourke, who has advised a number of major US companies with operations in Ireland, said on Twitter that Mr Donohoe's speech was "probably the most substantial Irish tax policy speech for the last 30 years."

Speaking to the Irish Times earlier this week, Mr O'Rourke said most countries accepted the principle that companies would have to pay some profits' tax in the country of sale or consumption and were now "haggling over the price."

"No matter what happens we're going to lose tax (revenue) as a result of this OECD initiative," Mr O'Rourke said, referring to Ireland's corporate tax take which has more than doubled in recent years, mainly as a result of multinational companies moving intellectual property into Ireland to "align" it with their manufacturing and service centres here. 

Multinationals employ about 10% of Ireland's workforce, and pay most of the corporation tax raised here. 

Corporate Income Tax now accounts for some 19% of government revenue

"The extent to which profit has to be left in these countries of consumption is in effect a direct transfer of taxable profits from Ireland to that country", he said.

The full text of the Ministers speech can be found here.