US President Barack Obama has described Ireland as a ‘tax haven’ in an online attack on Mitt Romney’s investment policy.
The allegation about Ireland’s tax status is contained in a graphic posted on the US leader’s website according to the Irish Times newspaper.
A report in the paper says that the graphic image illustrates the investments of Romney, Obama’s rival in the US Presidential election.
The graphic says that Romney has invested in Ireland, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.
The paper reports that the headline on the graphic reads: ‘Has Mitt Romney avoided US taxes by investing millions in tax havens?’
The Irish Times says that the website: “Notes that a trust associated with Mr Romney held an undisclosed amount of money in a Goldman Sachs fund and in other accounts in Ireland.
“While Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are listed as having zero tax, Ireland is listed as having a tax rate of 12.5 per cent (the corporation tax rate).”
A note in small type at the bottom of the graphic states that the featured countries have been mentioned as ‘tax havens’ in a Congressional Research Service report.
Romney’s published tax returns for 2010 gave details of his wealth around the globe, income, and the tax he pays.
The report says that, despite being the richest candidate to contest the presidency, he pays a rate of tax less than that of a US middle-income citizen.
“Tell Mitt Romney to bring his offshore accounts back to the USA,” urged the Obama website.
The Obama administration is reported to be considering measures aimed at imposing a minimum level of tax on the profits of US multinationals that are located outside the US.
Critics believe this move could act as a disincentive to foreign direct investment into Ireland.