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Oxfam report exposes Ireland's role in facilitating corporate tax avoidance - Carthy

27 March, 2017 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy has said a new report published today by Oxfam includes irrefutable evidence that the Irish state is still being used for massive levels of tax avoidance by corporations, banks and wealthy individuals, despite the government claims to the contrary.

The report on the use of tax havens by European banks is based on 2015 figures that were only made available following the introduction of public country by country reporting for large banks last year.

Carthy, a member of the European Parliament's Panama Papers inquiry, said: 

"Yet again we have another report from a highly respected development agency that describes the Irish state as a tax haven - this time, for Europe's biggest banks.

"Incredibly, the figures show that five banks - RBS11, Societe Generale, UniCredit, Santander and BBVA - reported profits in Ireland of more than 100% of their turnover, something that can only be achieved through blatant profit-shifting.

"Combined, these big banks reported profits of €2.3bn in the Irish state on turnover of around €3bn, compared with Sweden which reported profits of €0.9bn on the same level of turnover. Oxfam's report further shows that the effective tax rate paid on these Irish profits by 16 of the top 20 banks was 6%, with three banks paying an effective tax rate of just 2%.

"This shows without a doubt the existence of tax laws and loopholes in the Irish state that continue to facilitate massive corporate tax avoidance. These must be addressed by ending mismatches and introducing strong controlled foreign company rules and stronger anti-abuse rules."

Carthy concluded:

"Most importantly these figures vividly illustrate the value of country by country reporting being made public instead of the figures only being provided to state tax authorities.

"The Irish Government should stop playing an obstructionist role on this matter in the EU Council, where it opposes public country by country reporting, and commit instead to maximum transparency."

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