Ireland has in the works plans to change some of its tax laws. These changes could have radical effects on global companies, who as of right now, are taking advantage of Ireland's “Double Irish” tax loophole. Global companies have been looking for ways to decrease their tax liabilities and have done so by registering their companies in Ireland and moving profits to offshore tax havens like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. The exact amount of money being sent through this process is not known but is estimated to be around tens of billions of dollars.
The law is changing so that now all Irish-registered companies must be tax residents in Ireland. While officials think this is a good change, the time frame of the law conversion is being criticized. The new rules will take effect come January 2015 but will not be applied to corporations using the current “Double Irish” structure until 2020, giving companies six years to come into compliance or restructure to find different tax loopholes.
Most of the current tax benefit that is being obtained by companies is through their intellectual property. This being said, most of the companies that are taking advantage of the loophole are tech companies including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Microsoft. Irish officials are doing their best to introduce new measures to persuade these tech companies to stay in Ireland, since these companies make such huge investments in the country. One proposed idea is for Ireland to create a new tax rate for income derived from intellectual property, in hopes to offset some of the tax hit these companies will take when they declare Irish residency.
The new tax laws in Ireland will have a ripple effect across the globe, as companies react in order to limit their tax liabilities. Companies will be doing a lot of restructuring, leaving countries such as Bermuda, and relocating to new tax havens around the world. The true effect is still unknown but over the next few years a lot of things will begin to change.