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Global Tax 50 2014: Michael Noonan

Irish finance minister

Michael Noonan

Michael Noonan was also in the Global Tax 50 2013 and 2011

Another year, another place for Michael Noonan in the Global Tax 50. It is a testament to the success Ireland has had in attracting foreign direct investment through a policy of a low headline corporate tax rate, no controlled foreign company rules, generous R&D relief and a limited transfer pricing regime that the finance minister is again counted as one of the most influential figures in tax around the world. However, this year was not just about the minister lying back and watching the investment flow in. He also had to fight to defend Ireland's reputation as an economy with an open, transparent tax system. In the middle of the year, this effort threatened to blow up in his face when Joaquin Almunia, the outgoing EU competition commissioner and another member of the Global Tax 50, launched an investigation into whether favourable Irish tax rulings for Apple amounted to illegal state aid. The matter is now under the control of Margrethe Vestager, the new competition commissioner, who is also in this list.

In his Budget for 2015, which he delivered in October, Noonan responded to scrutiny of Ireland's international tax arrangements by abandoning the so-called double Irish planning method, which allows companies located in Ireland to transfer royalty payments for the use of intellectual property (IP) via another Irish company to the company owning the IP, usually resident in a tax haven. Companies domiciled in Ireland will now have to be tax resident there too. This change, however, will be phased over six years. Noonan also announced a consultation on the creation of a favourable tax regime for IP, which he called the knowledge development box.

Ireland's 12.5% corporate tax rate will keep it in the firing line of those countries who resent the low tax regime, but it has a doughty defender in the country's finance minister.

The Global Tax 50 2014

View the full list and introduction

Gold tier (ranked in order of influence)

1. Jean-Claude Juncker  2. Pascal Saint-Amans  3. Donato Raponi  4. ICIJ  5. Jacob Lew  6. George Osborne  7. Jun Wang  8. Inverting pharmaceuticals  9. Rished Bade  10. Will Morris


Silver tier (in alphabetic order)

Joaquín AlmuniaAppleJustice Patrick BoyleCTPAJoe HockeyIMFArun JaitleyMarius KohlTizhong LiaoKosie LouwPierre MoscoviciMichael NoonanWolfgang SchäubleAlgirdas ŠemetaRobert Stack


Bronze tier (in alphabetic order)

Shinzo AbeAlberto ArenasPiet BattiauMonica BhatiaBitcoinBonoWarren BuffettECJ TranslatorsEurodadHungarian protestorsIndian Special Investigation Team (SIT)Chris JordanArmando Lara YaffarMcKessonPatrick OdierOECD printing facilitiesPier Carlo PadoanMariano RajoyNajib RazakAlex SalmondSkandiaTax Justice NetworkEdward TroupMargrethe VestagerHeinz Zourek

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