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'Carthy: Government's Apple stance farcical'

29 August, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has labelled the government’s stated commitment to immediately appeal an EU finding against Ireland regarding Apple as “farcical”. The Sinn Féin MEP’s comments came in response to media speculation that the results of the European Commission’s investigation into Irish state aid for Apple may be released this week.

Carthy said:

“The majority of Irish citizens are looking on with disgust as Fine Gael and Fianna Fail go to such great lengths to facilitate a multinational corporation to avoid paying its fair share of tax.

“Government and Fianna Fail representatives have lined up in recent days to assure Apple and other multinationals that they will immediately challenge any ruling against the Apple tax deal in the European Court of Justice. They refuse to even wait to read the content of the ruling before announcing such assurances.

“Comments from Fine Gael representatives that this case relates to the Double Irish, now being phased out, are simply incorrect. While Apple has certainly exploited the tax residency rules formerly in place in this state, the real issue under examination here is the ‘advanced opinion’, or tax rulings, issued by Revenue to Apple in 1991 and 2007.

“The sweetheart deals between Apple and successive Irish governments has caused massive damage to our reputation internationally, leading to US Senators from both sides of politics referring to our state as a ‘tax haven’ in 2013. By last year Apple Inc held $200 billion in cash, with almost 90 per cent of this – $181 billion – being held offshore to avoid paying tax.”

Carthy continued:

“In its preliminary findings, the European Commission showed that at a meeting between Revenue and Apple in 1990, a figure of taxable profit was agreed upon without reference to the actual profits of the company, shifted to the manufacturing category with a corporate tax rate of 10 per cent, and then left in place until 2007 despite the massive rise in Apple’s profits over this period. The amended ruling in 2007 calculated a 10-20 per cent increase on Apple’s costs – a figure described by the Commission as 'meaningless in relation to the computer industry'.

“Apple representatives have themselves testified to a US Senate subcommittee that since the early 1990s, the Irish government calculated Apple’s taxable income in such a way as to produce an effective tax rate in the low single digits, which from 2003 has been 2% or less.

“There is no justification to challenge a ruling against this deal, and the government should immediately rule out an appeal.

“In effect, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are saying that the Irish government will actively try to avoid recouping tax revenue owed to the Irish people. It’s farcical. These parties need to get real about the Irish government’s cosy relationship with Apple and its role in facilitating industrial-scale tax avoidance.” ENDS

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