Ireland rated sixth worst corporate tax haven in the world

Ireland rated sixth worst corporate tax haven in the world

Ireland has been branded as one of the worst tax havens in the world, on a par with countries like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands when it comes to helping big business dodge billions of euro each year in tax.

Bermuda tops the list of 15 countries followed by the Cayman Islands and the Netherlands.

Researchers at Oxfam compiled their list by investigating the extent to which countries have damaging tax policies, such as zero corporate tax rates and unfair and unproductive tax incentives, as well as the degree to which they cooperate with global processes against tax avoidance.

In short, according to the report, we allow large companies to operate within our shores without them paying any substantial or meaningful tax to the government. Ireland came in at sixth place ahead of Switzerland and Singapore in fourth and fifth.

Bahamas, which is ranked 11th and British Virgin Islands, ranked 15, were both named among offshore tax havens used by Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers tax avoidance scandal. Oxfam Australia estimated that in 2014, Australia-based multinational companies shifting profits to top tax havens cost the country close to 5 billion Australian dollars (3.7 billion USA dollars).

In recent years Britian has forced down its own tax rate on corporations' profits in order to compete with other countries, with its tax take from the levy falling by billions in the latest round of figures released in October.

The report was published to coincide with an appeal hearing by the whistleblowers behind the LuxLeaks affair, which exposed the various preferential tax deals afforded to large corporations by Luxembourg.

"Allowing our overseas territories and crown dependencies to operate as tax havens undermines Britain's efforts to be an outward-facing, responsible member of the global community".

Muheed Jamaldeen, Oxfam Australia's Senior Economist, said Australian-based companies needed to be crystal clear about what taxes they were paying and where.

Oxfam has named the worst tax havens for encouraging multinational corporate tax avoidance in its report, Tax Battles: the unsafe race to the bottom on corporate tax, published today.

The charity said tax dodging by multinational corporations cost poor nations vital resources that would be enough to provide an education "for the 124 million children who aren't in school and fund healthcare interventions that could prevent the deaths of at least 6 million children every year". The average corporate tax rate across G20 countries was 40 percent 25 years ago - today it is less than 30 percent.

"The Australian government has a responsibility to join efforts to stop this race to the bottom on corporate tax rates and demand that companies pay their fair share - at home and overseas".