The Irish economy is getting back on track after the recession at the end of 2009, and was predicted to be the fastest-growing economy in Europe in 2016 according to figures from the European Commission.
The real estate market has boomed over the past couple of years causing rents, particularly in Dublin, to increase. "The Irish economy is definitely a lot more buoyant in 2015/early 2016 than it was compared to the prior year," said Lorraine Griffin, head of tax at Deloitte. "You can see it in the streets of Dublin where there is clear evidence of enhanced confidence and consumer spending in stores, restaurants, services etc. Other parts of Ireland outside of Dublin are seeing improved economic performance also, although not all parts of the country have experienced recovery to the same extent."
It has been a very busy year for tax advisers and Ireland remains an attractive market for investors, in large part due to its tax system. The international tax climate has seen a lot of change this year and the increased focus on anti-avoidance has been noticeable in Ireland, where the OECD's BEPS Project and the EU Anti-Avoidance Directive have been high on the agenda. "Ireland has a huge amount of multinational investment, in particular US multinational investment. Tax has often been one of the factors for assessing the investment into Ireland," said Griffin.
Advisers report that the impacts of the international projects are starting to show, and are creating more tax advisory and compliance work for tax advisers as taxpayers prepare themselves for what is to come. "BEPS has caused clients to strategically reorganise their groups into territories like Ireland that have a focus on providing a low-tax regime for substantive real trading presences," said John Gulliver, head of tax at Mason Hayes & Curran. "The Irish Department of Finance monitors BEPS and is at the forefront of drafting legislative changes to ensure that the [Irish] tax regime is BEPS compliant."
In the Irish Finance Act 2015, patent box legislation, in-line with the modified-nexus approach, was included, and was introduced as part of the 2016 Budget. The country is also likely to include a principle purpose test (PPT) in tax treaties as a preferred option. This would be included via the multilateral instrument (BEPS Action 15) and incorporated into any future bilateral agreements entered into by Ireland. The country also introduced a formal procedure for bilateral advance pricing agreements (APAs) on June 23 2016. An extensive anti-avoidance tax law is already in place in Ireland to restrict interest deductions.
The EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive was agreed on June 21 2016 and will come into force on January 1 2019. "The Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive requirement for member states to introduce CFC legislation may cause Ireland to change its tax law and exempt foreign dividends from tax," said Gulliver. "This would further enhance Ireland's tax offering as a holding company location of choice."
The Irish tax authorities have expanded their resources and although it is a common trend for authorities around the world to be more aggressive, the relationship between the tax authorities, industry and tax practitioners in Ireland remains a good one. The need for certainty and stability is generally recognised as an important factor in encouraging investment.
As the tax environment continues to change, the extent to which the BEPS Action Plan will be implemented is increasingly uncertain and advisers try to keep on top of the domestic and international landscape to provide clear advice to clients.
The UK's vote to leave the EU has caused some uncertainty in Ireland and advisers said it will have an effect on the country, although what the impact may be is very difficult to predict. "Brexit will undoubtedly have a material impact on Ireland – the UK is such a huge influence in terms of our common border, our cultural links, our largest trading partner and as one of Ireland's strongest allies in Europe," said Jonathan Sheehan, head of tax at Walkers.
International Financial Services Centre,
North Wall Quay,
Contact Peter Maher, Head of Tax
T: +353 1 649 2301
Four time winner of the International Tax Review European Tax Award for Ireland, A&L Goodbody's Tax Group provides Irish taxation advisory and transactional services to many of the world's largest corporates and financial institutions. In recent years, the team has provided tax advice on most of the leading transactions that have been completed in the Irish market.
Tel: +353 1 618 0000
Fax: +353 1 618 0618
Caroline Devlin, Co-chair Tax Group
Fintan Clancy, Co-chair Tax Group
Conor Hurley, New York Resident
Ailish Finnerty, Partner
Aisling Burke, Partner
Deloitte & Touche House
Tel: +353 (0) 1 417 2200
Fax: +353 (0) 1 417 2300
Deloitte is one of the largest providers of tax services on the island of Ireland, with 18 tax partners and nearly 250 dedicated tax professionals in five locations. Deloitte Ireland provides tax consulting and compliance services to a wide range of clients, including multinational corporations, Irish plcs and indigenous Irish companies spanning multiple industries. In addition, we advise high-net-worth individuals and family offices on taxation and succession-planning matters. In addition, in 2016 we were recognized by the prestigious International Tax Review with an award as Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year in Ireland, which is the third time we have won this award.
Deloitte Ireland is part of the global network of Deloitte member firms, which includes more than 30,000 member firm tax partners and professionals worldwide. Services can be provided by using a local approach, a global or regionally coordinated approach or a centralised approach to increase efficiency and control over tax activities. With Deloitte Ireland and the Deloitte network of member firms, clients can gain the benefits of global reach while retaining access to local tax knowledge when and where they need it. This means better relations with revenue authorities, faster responses to regulatory changes, and a tax provider with a deeper understanding of their issues and the environments and industries in which they operate. Our service delivery model is designed to adapt and evolve quickly as companies grow and as priorities shift. This enables clients to remain agile and to respond quickly and efficiently to marketplace changes.
Deloitte Ireland provides the full suite of tax services, including the following:
Head of Tax
Tel: +353 (0) 1 417 2992
Ernst & Young Building
Tel: +353 1 475 0555
Country Tax Leader
Tel: +353 1 221 2478
Global Compliance and Reporting
Tel: +353 1 221 2478
Tel: +353 1 2211514
Tel: +353 1 2212434
Tel: +353 1 221 2413
International Tax Services
Tel: +353 1 221 2457
Life Sciences Tax Services
Tel: +353 1 221 1139
Private Client Services
Tel: +353 61 317 784
R&D Tax Services
Tel: +353 1 221 2638
Tel: +353 1 221 2015
Tel: +353 1 221 2094
Maples and Calder
75 St Stephen's Green
Tel: +353 1 619 2000
Fax: +353 1 619 2001
Maples and Calder is a leading law firm advising on the laws of Ireland, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
Maples and Calder's Tax Group advises international companies, financial institutions, investment firms and significant family offices. Our Group is made up of senior and experienced tax lawyers and prides itself on its technical excellence and transactional capabilities.
We work closely with counsel in the world's leading financial centres and with lawyers across our firm to develop innova- tive solutions for our clients.
We advise investors from around the world on the structuring of their international investments through Irish investment companies and Irish funds. We also advise businesses establishing a presence in Ireland.
Through our affiliate, MaplesFS, a leading provider of fiduciary and fund services, we provide a "one stop" service in establishing and servicing structures for our clients, including the provision of independent directors, Irish tax compliance and FATCA/CRS reporting.
Our Tax Group is described by leading directories as a "partner led service" and "a pragmatic and responsive team that understands the practical, commercial issues".
For a different perspective, please contact:
Head of Tax
+353 1 619 2038
Mason Hayes & Curran
South Bank House, Barrow Street, D4
Tel: +353 1 614 5000 Web: www.mhc.ie
Managing Partner: Declan Black
DD: +353 1 614 5017
Head of Tax: John Gulliver
DD: +353 1 614 5007
Tax Partner: Robert Henson
DD: +353 1 614 2314
Tax Partner: Maura Dineen
DD: +353 1 614 2444
Of Counsel: Niamh Keogh
DD: +353 1 614 5848
Mason Hayes & Curran, one of Ireland's top law firms, offers an internationally experienced tax team of partners and professionals. The tax group provides innovative and leading edge tax services to its multinational corporate client base including Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 quoted companies, financial institutions, and merchant banks.
|Corporate Income Tax||12.5%||A|
|Capital Gains Tax||33%||B|
|Net Operating Losses (years)|
|Interest||20%||D E F|
|Royalties from, for example, patents, know-how||20%||D F G|
A This rate applies to trading income and to certain dividends received from non-resident companies. A 25% rate applies to certain income and to certain activities.
B A 40% rate applies to disposals of certain life insurance policies.
C This withholding tax is imposed on dividends distributed subject to exceptions
D Applicable to both residents and non-residents.
E Interest paid by a company in the course of a trade or business to a company resident in another European Union (EU) member state or in a country with which Ireland has entered into a double tax treaty is exempt from withholding tax, subject to conditions. Bank deposit interest is subject to a 41% deposit interest retention tax (DIRT). DIRT exemptions apply to bank interest paid to non-residents and, subject to certain conditions, bank interest paid to Irish resident companies and pension funds.
F Ireland implemented the EU Interest and Royalties Directive, effective from January 1 2004.
G Under Irish domestic law, withholding tax on royalties applies only to certain patent royalties and to other payments regarded as “annual payments” under Irish law. The Irish Revenue has confirmed that withholding tax need not be deducted from royalties paid to nonresidents with respect to foreign patents (subject to conditions).
Peter Maher leads the tax practice at A&L Goodbody which comprises 11 other professionals including partners Paul Fahy, James Somerville and Amelia O'Beirne. The team offers a full range of services covering all areas of tax with particular focus on financial, technology, pharmaceutical, life sciences, real estate and aircraft leasing. Maher specialises in inbound investment, cross-border financing and structuring, capital market transactions, fund formation and US multinational tax planning and business restructuring.
The firm acts on many M&A deals of intricacy, scale, innovation and significance in the Irish corporate and legal markets. This year, the practitioners assisted Pfizer on its recently cancelled $160 billion merger with Allergan plc and related inversion into Ireland.
The team came highly recommended. One client said: "Peter Maher is extremely good at what he does, he is very easy to work with, responsive, and an all-around good guy."
The firm has an international presence with offices in Dublin, Belfast, London, San Francisco, New York and Palo Alto.
The tax team at Arthur Cox is headed by Fintan Clancy and Caroline Devlin. It is active in M&A, corporate finance, real estate and international tax transactions, advising both domestic and international clients, ranging from government bodies to large multinational enterprises.
Clancy specialises in M&A and advises clients on tax planning, including the tax aspects of acquisitions, disposals, reorganisations, migrations, securitisations and financings. He also chairs the taxes committee of the Irish debt securities association and is a member of the international committee of Irish funds, along with senior associate Kevin Mangan.
Devlin is co-chair of the tax group and has a wealth of experience in both domestic and international structuring tax affairs for various types of transactions, including intellectual property (IP) structures, efficient cash extraction methods, advising on tax aspects of M&A transactions and loan portfolio transactions. She is also the head of the firm's Asia Pacific group and is on the tax administration liaison committee.
The team of five partners and 15 professionals is heavily involved in the development of Irish tax policy and has been engaged in efforts to strengthen the tax system. Clients said the firm provided excellent services and were efficient and professional.
Lorraine Griffin leads the tax team at Deloitte as well as the multidisciplinary life sciences practice. The team, comprising 18 partners and 252 professionals, provides practical solutions to meet its clients' needs, while helping them understand the broad context within which they are operating as well as the fine details relevant to their situation. The full service provider is one of the largest tax groups in Ireland and has dedicated industry knowledge and experience to assist clients wherever their interest may be.
The firm was highly praised by clients for its professionalism, broadness of knowledge, pleasant work relationship and quality of content and advice. One said: "Deloitte Dublin team are extremely strong and very engaged. The team had depth and took the time to learn the industry complexities."
The team was engaged in a supply chain reorganisation for a large pharmaceuticals company, including a site divestment, IP planning, EU cross-border merger and alignment of the supply chain with commercial substance. Karen Fawley is a partner at Deloitte and has more than 17 years of experience advising multinational groups investing in Ireland and Irish-based groups on outward investments. Daryl Hanberry is another significant partner. He has more than 12 years' experience with Deloitte and deals with the provision of services to clients across a broad range of industries.
The tax practice at Dillon Eustace, established in 2004, comprises tax, legal and accounting professionals and is headed by David Lawless. He is the former head of PwC Ireland's investment management tax practice and its securitisation practice. He regularly advises on all aspects of financial services.
Another tax partner is Sean Murray who previously worked as a tax manager in the financial services department of PwC and advises on various aspects of financial services, focusing on investment management, structured finance, banking and private equity.
With offices in Dublin, Cork and Waterford, EY's team of professionals works under the supervision of Kevin McLoughlin. He has more than 18 years of experience in tax advisory and spent a number of years on the Irish tax desk at EY in California. His areas of expertise include cross-border planning, inward investment and M&A. The team specialises in international tax, indirect tax, human capital, business tax and transfer pricing and has emphasis on sectors such as aviation and life sciences.
Frank Walsh is the key contact for Grant Thornton's tax practice. His main professional interests include tax advice for foreign direct investment and outbound investments, including advising businesses and banks on restructuring. The team brings a partner-led approach to tax advisory and compliance work and offers a wide range of tax services, including basic routine tax compliance and sophisticated restructurings.
The large group of tax professionals at KPMG is led by Conor O'Brien who advises both domestic and international clients and has particular experience on equity and debt issuance, as well as stamp duty and the operation tax of treaties. His focus areas include technology, banking and leasing sectors. The team provides advice across all aspects of tax from offices in Dublin, Belfast and Galway.
Maples and Calder provides advice on corporate tax, investment funds, aviation, private equity platforms and asset backed securitisations, high-value initial public offering (IPO) work and inbound investment in Irish debt and real estate.
The team comprises eight tax professionals, including two partners, and is led by Andrew Quinn who specialises in international tax and advises companies, investment funds, banks and family offices on Ireland's international tax offerings.
Clients said the firm is great, creative and it came highly recommended. One said: "I would only not recommend the firm so as to keep them from getting too busy that they couldn't do our deals. They are great, very commercial, and always think of creative ways to solve our problems."
Mason Hayes & Curran's tax department is headed by John Gulliver. It is one of the largest firms in Ireland and focuses on M&A, financial services transactions and group reorganisations. This year the team acted for a leading Austrian bank for the provision of finance to acquire debt portfolios secured on Irish and UK property.
Gulliver specialises in M&A and international tax and is a member of the tax section of the international bar association (IBA). Tax partner Robert Henson leads the firm's tax offering on international financial services and capital markets transactions. Maura Dineen was promoted to tax partner in the past year and has advised on more than 30 M&A deals where she negotiated and drafted the tax deed and warranties supporting the transactions.
One client said: "MHC Tax are very responsive and extremely practical in how they deal with us. They tell us the advice we need to hear rather than the advice they want us to hear. This gives us great reassurance as we have found that some other firms are simply in the business of selling tax products which are not aligned with the business realities."
The team expanded this year with the addition of Niamh Keogh and Eilis Griffin, and now comprises seven senior tax professionals and three professionals.
The large law firm Matheson's tax team of 14 partners and 19 professionals is headed by Turlough Galvin. It specialises in VAT and indirect tax, corporate, including M&A, structures, inward investment and inversions, financial services and tax controversy, which includes transfer pricing, litigation and state aid investigation assistance.
Galvin specialises in tax structuring, all forms of structured finance, securitisation, derivatives, M&A and stamp duty. He also advises the financial service industry on transfer pricing and is often involved in resolving tax disputes.
A key transaction this year for the firm included advising one of the first Irish mergers and share capital reductions.
In 2015, the new corporate law mechanism was introduced into Irish law and Matheson advised a client operating in the financial services sector on a merger by acquisition.
Clients said the firm is excellent and are professional, understanding and supporting. One client said they found the team knowledgeable and efficient, technically very good and thorough, and would recommend them to others.
Michael Ryan heads the tax group at McCann FitzGerald and has extensive expertise advising a range of Irish companies, including banking, leasing and investment companies and major investment projects into Ireland. Eleanor MacDonagh is another key contact for the team. She specialises in taxation law and has led the expansion of the firm's tax advisory services to both domestic and international banking and financial services clients. She has a wealth of expertise in relation to international tax structuring through Ireland, the taxation of capital markets, securitisation and structured finance and establishing investment funds.
The firm has offices in Dublin, London, New York and Brussels.
Feargal O'Rourke is the managing partner of PwC Ireland and has more than 25 years' experience advising multinationals investing in Ireland. His clients include an array of Irish public, private and state companies. The team at PwC offers a full range of tax services, including advice on all main areas including corporate, financial, real estate, M&A and controversy.
Capital markets are a key service area for Walkers, which has one of the largest market shares in this area. The tax team is headed by Jonathan Sheehan who was appointed head of the practice in February 2015. He advises across a wide range of tax areas including structured finance and capital markets, financial services, investment funds, private equity, corporate, banking and real estate. He also has vast experience in advising on corporate migrations, cross-border mergers and loan portfolio sales and acquisitions.
The transactional tax practice provides front-end tax advisory services with expertise in advising in relation to finance and debt capital markets, aircraft leasing, investment funds and corporate transactions.
Walkers comes highly recommended. One client said: "We have had a great experience with Jonathan Sheehan at Walkers and use the firm almost exclusively for tax advice in transactions we do in Ireland. He is very fast, user friendly and commercial and we would definitely use him again."
Martin Phelan heads the tax practice of eight partners and 16 professionals at William Fry, Taxand Ireland. The firm offers the full suite of tax services which includes compliance, transfer pricing and evaluation. It also provides complex structuring advice on leading domestic and international transactions and has recently added a financial services team which includes partner and head of the team Ted McGrath, tax associates Padhriac Mulpeter and Winnie Liu as well as tax manager Leo Sexton.
Phelan has more than 20 years of experience advising on international tax and works in financial services, international tax, inward investment and litigation. Other significant partners at the firm are Brian Duffy, Sonya Manzor, and Cliona Donnelly. This year, the team expanded with the addition of Olwyn O'Driscoll from KPMG.
The firm was praised by clients, one said: "We would recommend this firm because of the ability to speak directly to partners and get prompt and practical responses."