Oxfam names world's worst tax havens

THE Republic of Ireland along with four UK-linked territories - Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Jersey and the British Virgin Islands - appear in a new list of the world's 15 worst corporate tax havens revealed by Oxfam.

In a damning report by development agency Oxfam, Ireland was placed sixth in a list of 15 countries that facilitated large-scale corporate tax avoidance through profit-shifting, aggressive tax planning structures and so-called sweetheart deals.

Oxam highlighted the tax paid by Apple in Ireland, which worked out at 0.005 percent, according to a European Commission investigation that also said the tech giant owed about 13 billion euros in back taxes.

In a fresh study released Monday, global charity Oxfam revealed how tax havens around the globe were leading an worldwide race to the bottom on corporate tax, which it said "was starving countries out of billions of dollars needed to tackle poverty and inequality".

The UK had low headline rates of corporation tax - falling to 17 per cent in 2020 - and it did not have a very good record on chasing large companies for tax bills, he says.

Mr Clarken said it was "no badge of honour" for Ireland to be known as a haven for coporate tax dodging. "We collect more detailed data about farm animals in this country than we do about the tax affairs of multinationals", the CEO stressed.

It said it is "absolutely critical" that the world establishes a clear list of the worst tax havens based on objective criteria, and free from political interference. The countries ranked from 10th to 15th are Cyprus, the Bahamas, Jersey, Barbados, Mauritius and the British Virgin Islands.

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Corporate tax incentives, sometimes offered to attract investment or help a country shape its economy, are "far too often. ineffective, inefficient and costly", the report said.

Although pointing the finger mainly to tax havens, the report acknowledges that they are not the only part of the problem.

Luxembourg, Ireland, and the Netherlands are already under pressure from the European Commission, which has accused all three of offering sweetheart deals to worldwide companies.

Corporate profits are rising, but corporate tax incomes are not, according to the report.

The charity said tax dodging by multinational corporations at least €92bn per year - enough money to fund healthcare that could prevent the deaths of, "at least six million children every year".

"Ireland does not meet any of the worldwide standards for being considered a tax haven".

"It should be emphasised too that the right to set a corporate tax rate is recognised by the United Nations as a sovereign right and is considered by Bermuda to be an essential contributor to its world-leading reinsurance centre, along with political stability, regulatory excellence and geographic independence", he said.

  • Myrtle Hill