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Ireland: Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes

Forms of Low-Tax Operation

In Ireland there are no specific forms of company or other entities designed for offshore operation. There are a number of special taxation regimes offering low taxation; and non-resident companies offer a highly effective means of reducing international tax bills, although their efficacy has been reduced in some situations by the new rules introduced by the Finance Act 1999, following the Irish Government's agreement with the EU on a 12.5% mainstream corporation tax rate.

Now that the agreed new regime is fully operational in Ireland, the various special regimes have ceased other than for existing companies; on the other hand, the agreed new regime is far superior to anything available elsewhere in the EU. It is difficult to see what other major EU country would be brave enough to take its corporation tax rate down to 12.5%; and it is unlikely that the EU itself is going to allow an (even more harmful) tax competition to develop between member states. Ireland has probably got away with a sensational deal which is just going to look better and better as time goes by.



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