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Exodus to Ireland gathers pace as WPP switches

irish landscape

There could be an acceleration of businesses moving to Ireland, a leading tax
professor has warned, after FTSE 100 media giant
WPP announced plans to
move its tax domicile this week.

Mike Devereaux, director of the
Oxford University Centre
for Business Taxation
, said the process in businesses identifying tax as a
catalyst for moving offshore is straightforward.

While unable to speak on behalf of individual companies, he said Ireland is
two-dimensional in
its attractiveness to UK-based companies.

‘Not only does it have a 12.5% tax rate but it doesn’t have a controlled
foreign companies regime so it’s easier to do what you want in the rest of the
world,’ he said.

He said while there is a possibility some clarification could be gleaned from
the upcoming pre-budget report, the likelihood is not great, as the
Treasury is still
actively consulting with business.

‘It hasn’t reached a likely conclusion yet. Businesses are pressing for
something to be in the finance bill for 2009 but the government isn’t promising
anything at the moment,’ he said.

Devereaux’s comments come in the wake of advertising network WPP announcing
plans to relocate its headquarters to Ireland, citing the need for a more
desirable tax regime. A large percentage of its operations are already conducted
abroad.

Martin Sorrell, chief executive at WPP, has acted as an ambassador for
British business.
WPP paid £204m in tax last year, but none of it in the UK because of tax
allowances from previous years, according to the company’s annual report.


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