Ireland ‘cannot’ accept global tax reform plans: finance minister

Ireland will not sign up to global tax reform plans, finance minister Paschal Donohoe insisted Thursday, entrenching the Republic’s hold-out position as momentum accelerates for a deal meant to ensure multinationals pay their fair share.

Around 132 countries have already agreed to the reforms on international taxation, including a minimum corporate rate of 15 percent.

On Saturday, finance ministers from the G20 — 19 largest global economies plus the European Union — backed the historic deal.

But Ireland — which levies a 12.5 percent corporation tax rate and is considered by some a “tax haven” — will not endorse the plans as they stand, Donohoe said.

“What is on the table at the moment is an agreement that Ireland cannot be part of,” he told Irish state broadcaster RTE.

“We are committed to the negotiation to see if we can enter the agreement at some point, but I’m making the case for 12.5 percent,” Donohoe said.

“It has been a key feature of our economic policy now for decades.”

His comments came after the Irish Examiner reported that Dublin plans to relinquish its 12.5 percent rate for fear of international “pariah” status.

“Ireland will continue to make the case for the rights of small countries to retain some competitive advantage, but we don’t want to be an outlier in terms of a global tax deal,” a senior government source was quoted as saying.

The newspaper reported Ireland plans to make concessions on its 12.5 percent rate — which has lured numerous US tech and pharma firms to its shores — as part of a new OECD tax agreement in October.

But Donohoe said agreeing to 15 percent proposals would create “issues” for “people who’ve invested in our economy, and have expectations regarding the predictability of our rate in the future.”