Ireland: Double Tax Treaties
Ireland has comprehensive double taxation agreements in force with 64 countries, a further seven are awaiting ratification at time of writing. The agreements generally cover income tax, corporation tax and capital gains tax (direct taxes).
Almost all of Ireland's treaties provide for nil withholding tax on interest paid to a treaty partner, either unconditionally or on certain types of interest only. Exceptions are treaties with Australia, Chile, Israel and Turkey that provide reduced, but not nil rates for interest payments. Many of Ireland’s tax treaties also exempt royalty payments made by Irish companies from withholding tax.
A Convention on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion between Ireland and Turkey was signed in Dublin in October, 2008. The then Irish Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan signed the agreement with his Turkish counterpart Kemal Unakitan.Commenting on the signing, Lenihan said: “The signing of this Convention completes Ireland’s network of bilateral tax agreements with all OECD countries. The Convention represents a significant addition to Ireland’s existing network of double taxation treaties.”
In November, 2008, Ireland signed a Double Tax Avoidance Treaty with Malta - the only EU country with which it did not already have such a treaty. Ireland also signed a double tax avoidance treaty with Georgia.
A double tax agreement and a tax information exchange agreement with the Isle of Man government came into effect at the end of 2008.
The agreements with Macedonia and Malta, which were signed on April 14, 2008 and November 14, 2008, respectively, came into force following the Irish ratification of the conventions on January 12, 2009 and January 15, 2009, respectively. Both treaties came into effect on January 1, 2010.
In the case of both agreements, the conventions cover taxes on the income of individuals and companies. They operate by either granting exclusive taxation rights to one or other country, or where the income or gain remains taxable in both, by providing that the country of residence of the taxpayer will relieve double taxation by allowing a credit for the tax paid in the other country.
In March 2009, the Cayman Islands government announced that it had put in place arrangements that provide access to comprehensive tax information assistance with twenty countries, one of which was Ireland.
On September 23, 2009, the Irish Ambassador to Serbia, Antóin MacUnfraidh signed a convention for the avoidance of double taxation with Vuk Djokovic, Serbia’s Ministry for Finance, concluding negotiations that began in December 2007. The treaty came into effect from January 1, 2011.
On October 13, 2009, Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister Klaus Tschütscher and Irish Minister of Finance Brian Lenihan signed a tax information exchange agreement. The agreement, which follows the OECD Model Tax Agreement, provides for the exchange of information upon request to aid investigations carried out by the tax authorities of the respective countries in cases of tax crimes and in civil tax matters and came into force on June 30, 2010.
On October 29, 2009, Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Martin Mansergh, and Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Finance, signed a convention for the avoidance of double taxation and fiscal evasion with respect taxes on income and on capital. It came into force on November 9, 2010.
In Sarajevo on November 3, 2009, Bosnian Deputy Minister of Finance, Fuad Kasumovic, and the Irish Ambassador to the nation, Patrick McCabe, signed a Double Tax Convention on behalf of their respective countries.
In March 2010, Ireland’s Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, and South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, signed a protocol updating the existing double taxation agreement (DTA) between the two countries. The bilateral DTA was originally signed in October 1997. Articles III and VI came into effect on April 1, 2012. All other provisions will apply from January 1, 2013.
On June 22, 2010, Ireland's Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, and Hong Kong's Minister for Finance and Professor K. C. Chan, signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income. The agreement came came into force on April 1, 2012.
Also on June 22, 2010, an Agreement was signed by Ireland's Ambassador to Morocco, James Brennan, and Morroco's State Secretary to the Foreign Ministry, Latifa Akharbach.
On July 1, 2010, Ireland's Amassador to the UAE, Ciaran Madden, and the UAE's Undersecretary to the Ministry of Finance, Younis Haji al Khoori, signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income. It came into effect on June 2, 2011.
On October 7, 2010, Ireland's Ambassador to Montenegro, John Deady, and Montenegro's Foreign Minister, Milan Rocean, signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income.
On October 28, 2010, Ireland's Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources, Mr Conor Lenihan T.D, and Singapore's Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Education, Mr S. Iswaran, signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income. The agreement came into force on April 8, 2011.
On November 23, 2010, Ireland's Ambassador to the UAE, Ciaran Madden, and Kuwait's Undersecretary to the Ministry of Finance, Khalifa M. Hamada, signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income.
In March 2011, Ireland's Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan and His Excellency, German Ambassador Busso von Alvensleben signed a Revised Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital. After the signing, Mr Noonan commented: "Ireland’s Double Taxation Agreement with Germany was signed in Dublin in October 1962 and is Ireland’s oldest Double Taxation Agreement. As both Ireland and Germany’s taxes and laws have altered considerably since that time, many of the provisions of that Agreement needed to be replaced and updated."
On May 31, 2011, the governments of Ireland signed Tax Information Exchange Agreements with Grenada and Vanuatu. The former of which came into force on April 23, 2012.
On July 14, 2011, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Edward Nalbandian, signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation at Iveagh House. Before the signing, Mr Gilmore commented: “The Double Taxation Agreement is a significant step which will assist both Irish and Armenian businesses and facilitate bilateral trade and investment. Irish companies are always looking for opportunities to grow their businesses into new markets. I have no doubt, therefore, that the Agreement will have a positive impact on trade and investment between our two countries.”
On October 19, 2011, Ireland and Saudi Arabia signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation. The Agreement includes in its definition of permanent establishments 'service permanent establishments', such as consultancy services, where services are provided in the source country for a period of more than six months in any 12 month period. Furthermore, the definition of permanent establishments was expanded to include insurance permanent establishments, where an insurance company collects premiums or insures risks in the territory of the source country.
On November 28, 2011, Ireland and Panama signed an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation which has since been ratified by Ireland.
On January 26, 2012, Irish Minister for External Affairs, Mr Frank Aiken and His Excellency, Swiss Ambassador Julien Rossat, signed a Protocol amending the double taxation agreement (DTA) in the area of taxes on income and capital. It contains provisions on the exchange of information in accordance with the international standard.
Tax treaties with Egypt, Qatar, Uzbekistan and Ukraine have been signed but not yet ratified.