DUBLIN, March 27 (Xinhua) -- There is evidence that Ireland is facilitating corporate tax avoidance by top European banks, according to the British charity Oxfam on Monday.
In a research report, the British charity body found the extraordinary profitability of European banks in Ireland: with about 3 billion euros of turnover, they made more than 2.3 billion euros in profits in 2015.
The report studied Europe's 20 biggest banks, 16 of which operate in Ireland.
"In comparison, in Sweden, where the same banks have a similar turnover of 3 billion euros, they made only 0.9 billion euros of profits. Ireland is therefore almost 2.5 times more profitable as a banking location than Sweden," the report said.
"The profit margin of European banks in Ireland is 76 percent, meaning that every euro of turnover generates 76 cents of profit, a performance that is four times higher than the global average," it said.
The report said the tax rates paid on these large profits are often much lower than Ireland's already low statutory corporate income tax rate of 12.5 percent.
The average effective rate of the 16 top European banks operating in Ireland is actually half the statutory rate at 6 percent, with three banks -- Barclays, RBS and Credit Agricole -- only paying an effective rate of just 2 percent on their profits, according to the report.
It also said Ireland is a very productive location for European banks: an average bank employee there generated 409,000 euros in profits in 2015, more than nine times the average for employees worldwide.
"The Spanish bank BBVA stands out in this respect: while the bank's employees generated on average a profit of 33,000 euros each, an average employee in Ireland generated 6.8 million euros, well over 200 times as much," the report said.
In response to the report, Ireland's Department of Finance rejected any allegations that Ireland is a tax haven.
"The report outlines four criteria which Oxfam suggest should be used to determine which countries are considered to be tax havens. However, Ireland does not meet any of these criteria.
"Furthermore, Ireland does not meet any international definition of being a tax haven. We only have and want real substantive foreign direct investment, the kind that brings real jobs and investment into Ireland," the department said.
The department added that Ireland is fully compliant with all international best practices in the areas of tax transparency and exchange of information.