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Le Maire quotes James Joyce on the way forward for a 15 percent tax deal

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France’s finance minister has added a Joycean touch to the EU’s ongoing struggle to agree a 15 percent corporate tax rate.

Runo Le Maire quoted the Irish literary giant as trying to explain Poland’s continued opposition to a deal he hoped would materialize at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.

He said he was “optimistic” that all 27 EU finance ministers could agree on the 15 percent rate by next month.

“We are not far from finding the right wording and the right way to reach consensus,” Mr Le Maire told reporters on Tuesday.

“In the last five years we have made some progress. We also made some mistakes. We have all made some mistakes in this international taxation because this is a very sensitive discussion and a very sensitive issue.

“I would like to quote an important European writer named James Joyce: ‘Errors are the portals of discovery.’ And I think we’re not far from discovering international taxation.”

Poland is the only EU country to block a deal over the lack of a legal link to a parallel deal targeting the world’s biggest tech companies.

This part of the deal would shift taxing rights for the 100 most profitable companies to the countries where they sell, at a cost of up to €2 billion a year in lost revenue for Ireland.

Both parts of the agreement were agreed by 137 countries, including Ireland and Poland, in talks led by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last year.

The OECD is still working on the details of the reallocation of taxing rights.

French negotiators are now hoping to reach an agreement on the 15 percent rate by June 17.

Mr Le Maire said he was in “intense talks” with Poland to resolve “a number of issues” and said he was “convinced” a deal would go through.

“We are removing the remaining obstacles and are heading towards a consensus,” he told journalists in Brussels on Tuesday.

“I will not shy away from my efforts to persuade Poland to take the final step to join the consensus.

“I think this is a question of justice, fairness and the efficiency of the international tax system.”

There are fears Poland is holding up a deal to put pressure on the EU to release tens of billions of euros in pandemic aid.

Aid has been frozen while EU courts consider whether or not to fine Poland for political interference in the appointment of judges.

The US also threw a spanner in the works by proposing to tax the foreign profits of its own multinationals at a higher rate of 20 percent, which could impact local companies.

Mr Le Maire said: “Europe and the US are moving in the same direction.”

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe plans to legislate on the finance bill this autumn, “if and when” Poland agrees to the EU proposal.

The 15 percent rate will apply from 2024 to multinational companies with global sales of more than EUR 750 billion.

https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/tax/le-maire-quotes-james-joyce-on-way-ahead-for-15pc-tax-deal-41685685.html Le Maire quotes James Joyce on the way forward for a 15 percent tax deal

Fry Electronics Team

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