What Makes a Country a Tax Haven? An Assessment of International Standards Shows Why Ireland Is Not a Tax Haven


  • Gary Tobin Department of Finance, Dublin
  • Keith Walsh Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Dublin


tax havens, tax competition, Ireland


This paper explores the issue of tax havens and tax competition. The recent intensified debate on tax havens is summarised, as is the important work of the OECD, the EU and the G-20 in this area and the ongoing research on the economic effects of tax havens. Ireland does not meet any of the OECD criteria for being a tax haven but because of its 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate and the open nature of the Irish economy, Ireland has on a few occasions been labelled a tax haven. There are three primary reasons for this identified, each addressed in the paper: a failure to distinguish between legitimate and abusive transfer pricing; a misunderstanding of the role and regulation of IFSC; and a dated but influential academic paper from 1994 that incorrectly included Ireland in a list of tax havens, based on a reason that has long since lost any validity.






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