IRELAND has been included in a list of tax havens compiled by two key allies of US President Barack Obama amid signs his administration is preparing a crackdown on US multinationals' overseas operations.

The list, compiled by senators Carl Levin and Byron L Dorgan, was published in a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which is likely to form the basis of new overseas taxation legislation. Obama was a prominent supporter of Levin and Dorgan's previous tax proposal, the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, which didn't identify Ireland as a tax haven.

The Department of Finance told the Sunday Tribune the list had been rejected by the previous Bush administration, which said it oversimplified the issue. It said that it shared the Bush administration's assessment of the list.

But international tax expert Richard Murphy said the Irish government was "in a state of denial".