Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan has blasted a United States Senate report into Ireland’s corporate tax rate. Noonan said the report into how the Irish taxation system is used by companies like Apple is 'misleading.'
Noonan was defending Ireland's corporate tax rate after the Senate claimed on Monday that Apple paid little or no tax on tens of billions of dollars in profits channelled through Irish subsidiaries - and that it had negotiated a special corporate tax rate of less than 2 percent.
According to Journal.ie Noonan said on Wednesday that this was erroneous and that Ireland does not negotiate with individual companies to decide how much tax they should pay.
The 2 per cent tax rate the Senate report cited was calculated by taking Apple's Irish tax bill as a percentage of its total global profits, and Ireland can not tax all of Apple's profits worldwide, Noonan explained.
'Companies that are not tax resident in Ireland are no more chargeable than in the United States,' Noonan clarified. 'It is clearly wrong and misleading to attribute this tax of tax to Ireland.'
Noonan added that tax avoidance by international companies is a concern for the Irish government, however they and governments around the world are 'now taking coordinated actions to ensure that corporations pay their fair share of tax.'
According to World Bulletin the Senate report showed that Apple had paid tax worth just two percent of $74 billion in overseas income which they claimed was largely helped by Irish tax law, which allows companies to be incorporated in the country without declaring taxes there.
The Senate subcommittee identified three Irish-registered Apple subsidiaries that have no tax residency in Ireland. One of these, a holding company that includes Apple's retail stores throughout Europe, paid no tax at all in the last five years.
Noonan insisted that the Irish tax system is transparent and that no company has ever been given a special deal. Apple's arrangement was simply a matter of tax planning by a company who had found a gap to exploit between two different tax jurisdictions, Noonan said.
Responding to a questioner in the Irish parliament who said Apple's tax rate bordered on magic, Noonan replied: 'Maybe there was a magician, but the magician wasn't living down in Cork. Because they are not tax resident in Ireland, they are not liable to Irish tax.'
Ireland is heavily dependent on foreign companies such as Google, Pfizer and Intel for its export-led growth and for employment. Foreign firms reportedly employ some 150,000 Irish people out of a workforce of under 2 million.