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Global tax holdout Ireland to announce decision on rate

·2-min read
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has indicated that his country is poised to accept a global tax reform (AFP/Olivier HOSLET)

The government of Ireland, one of the few countries to have resisted a global minimum tax on multinational firms, will meet on Thursday to decide whether to join the international reform.

Cabinet ministers are due to meet in Dublin in the late afternoon with a decision on accepting the 15 percent rate set to be announced in the early evening, a government spokesman told AFP.

There are increasing signals that Dublin will join the OECD effort to stop international corporations slashing tax bills by registering in nations with low rates.

Announced in early June, the OECD-brokered deal aims to introduce a global tax of at least 15 percent on the profits of the largest international firms.

It was approved by the G20 in July and has so far been signed by 134 countries, but not by Ireland, whose economic model relies on its favourable 12.5 percent tax rate.

Hungary and Estonia have not signed the text either.

The low levy has attracted an outsized number of pharma and tech firms to Ireland but also prompted accusations the nation acts as a tax haven.

Prime Minister Micheal Martin hinted on Thursday that the cabinet is poised to join the reform effort.

Tensions between Ireland and the OECD centred on a clause referring to "at least" 15 percent, with Dublin fearing that could mean the rate would ratchet higher in the future.

However, this week there were widespread reports in Irish media that the phrase has been removed from the draft text, clearing the way for Ireland to back the OECD plan at a summit on Friday.

"The changes that we sought and have been committed to are now in the new text," Martin was quoted as saying by the Irish Times newspaper on Thursday.

jts/phz/lth

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