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PwC/World Bank Report ‘Paying Taxes 2014’: An Assessment

Jim Stewart, Associate Professor in Finance School of Business, Trinity College Dublin

IIIS Discussion Paper No. 442

The PwC/World Bank ‘Paying Taxes 2014’ shows cross country comparisons of various aspects of the tax system as they affect companies, for example ease of compliance. In Ireland this Report is frequently cited in media coverage to the effect that reported effective profits tax rates in Ireland (shown as 12.3% in the Report published in 2013) are higher than those in France (8.3%) and other countries. The Report is based on a hypothetical (fictional) company which is small, domestically owned, has no imports or exports and produces and sells ceramic flower pots. These and other assumptions automatically rule out many tax minimisation strategies. This note assesses the claim that this report shows effective tax rates in Ireland are close to or above those in other countries such as France. It is argued data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis gives a more accurate estimate of effective tax rates for US subsidiaries operating in Ireland and elsewhere. This data shows that for 2011, US subsidiaries operating in Ireland have the lowest effective tax rate in the EU at 2.2%. This tax rate is not that dissimilar to effective tax rates in countries generally regarded as tax havens such as Bermuda at 0.4%.

Key words Effective tax rates in Ireland; w/ World Bank Report;  US Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

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Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).