A global agreement to set a minimum 15% corporate tax rate cleared its last major hurdle Thursday after Ireland, a low-tax country that is the European headquarters for some of the largest U.S. tech companies, said it would join the overhaul effort.
The change in Irish policy comes ahead of a Friday meeting of 140 governments and jurisdictions that have for years been negotiating a way of taxing international companies to limit avoidance and divide tax revenue in a way they say is fairer. The group seems likely to give its backing to a final agreement that would aim for implementation in 2023.
Ireland had been one of a small number of holdouts when the outlines of a global agreement were settled in July. That accord, driven by the U.S., aims to overhaul the way multinationals are taxed, the culmination of a yearslong effort to squeeze tax-avoidance arrangements.
If the needed changes to national law and international treaties are made, it would be the most sweeping change in international taxation in a century. In addition to setting a minimum rate that would likely see a number of the world’s largest companies pay more tax, existing tax revenues would be divided among governments so that countries where businesses have customers would get more revenue. That overturns a longstanding principle of international taxation, under which profits are taxed where value is generated, which traditionally was where businesses had a physical presence.
An expanded version of this report can be found at WSJ.com