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We need a public inquiry into Revenue rulings after Apple findings - Carthy

19 December, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said the most alarming revelation in today’s publication of European Commission state aid ruling on Apple is the detail of many other sweetheart deals struck by Revenue with multinational corporations.

Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs committee and Panama Papers inquiry said: “The publication today of the full ruling on state aid to Apple confirms what was already well known – that Revenue gave a selective advantage to Apple in two sweetheart deals in 1991 and 2007.

“But as well as confirming that a selective advantage was given to Apple that allowed it to dodge 13 billion euro in tax, the full ruling also demonstrates an absolutely shambolic approach by Revenue to dealing with multinationals.

“At least 11 other sweetheart deals between Irish Revenue and multinationals were struck between 1998 and 2010, many of which are still in place. The names of the companies are redacted.

“The main finding in the ruling regarding these Revenue deals was that no consistent criteria have been applied in deciding just how much tax these multinationals have to pay.

“But further, there appears to be a pattern in the rulings of using a profit-splitting method that allocates only a small amount of profits to the Irish-resident branch or company, meaning the vast majority of the profits, including sales profits, are not taxed in Ireland and are in all likelihood not being taxed anywhere. 

“How many of these rulings involve companies with subsidiaries in Bermuda or other tax havens? How many billions in tax in addition to Apple’s 13 billion has been avoided as a result of Revenue’s sweetheart deals?

“The veil of secrecy over Revenue’s advanced pricing agreements needs to be lifted.

“Let’s not forget, the only reason we are even aware of the sweetheart deals with Apple is because of the appearance of Apple CEO Tim Cook and others before the US Senate tax avoidance inquiry in 2013, in which Apple representatives confirmed they had negotiated a deal with Revenue that allowed them to pay an effective tax rate of less than 2%.

“A report by tax justice NGO Eurodad last week confirmed that there were at least 8 of these advance pricing agreements still in place in the Irish state at the end of 2015.”

Carthy continued: “We can draw no other conclusion from this evidence other than that Revenue has been actively and consciously assisting multinationals engage in massive tax avoidance over a period of decades.

“The government must open a public inquiry into Revenue’s rulings over the past several decades in order to reveal the truth about a scandal of such a scale.” 

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