Tax breaks introduced in the Finance Bill to attract international executives and foreign direct investment to Ireland do not go far enough to fend off the competitive threat now posed by other countries, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

It said the new sweeteners in the Special Assignment Relief Programme, though welcome and less restrictive than its earlier incarnation, would not entirely offset the cost of bringing top-level international workers into Ireland.

"Finance Bill 2010 opens up the relief to those coming from the EEA area and has reduced the minimum qualifying assignment period to one year. But many in the international business community believe that the changes have not got far enough," said Lisa Bresnan, PwC's director of international mobility services.

Businesses want the minimum income threshold on the tax breaks to be reduced and prefer the tax relief to operate on a PAYE basis, rather than through year-end rebates.

PwC human resources partner Mark Carter said Ireland was losing competitive advantage to Switzerland and the Netherlands, especially over personal taxation.