The Irish government is to write to a US Senate committee and revoke all claims that Ireland is a tax haven for multi-national corporations including Apple.
Enda Kenny’s cabinet has taken the decision in the wake of claims made last week by the chairman of the US senate subcommittee on permanent investigations, Democrat Carl Levin.
Kenny’s Ministers are seriously worried that the controversy over Apple’s taxes has seriously damaged Ireland’s reputation and ability to attract foreign investment, particularly from the USA.
The Irish Times says it has not been decided as yet the extent to which the letter will address claims that the Government did a special tax deal with Apple some years ago in an effort to get it to locate activities in Ireland.
Democrat Levin repeatedly described Ireland as a ‘tax haven’ last week.
He also claimed that Apple had ‘quietly negotiated with the Irish government an income tax rate of less than 2 per cent’.
Prime Minister Kenny, other members of his Government and the IDA, the body charged with attracting foreign industry, have denied the claim.
The report adds that senior figures from the Departments of Finance and Foreign Affairs, the IDA and the Irish Embassy in Washington held a video conference last Thursday to discuss the controversy.
The conference assessed the damage done to Ireland’s reputation arising from the coverage the claims received in the US, and how Ireland might best go about countering the charges.
The paper reports that the meeting agreed there was a need to aggressively assert the facts surrounding Ireland’s tax position and counter the claim that it was a tax haven or that it did special tax deals.
Embassy staff in Washington have been encouraged to persuade contacts to undertake media interviews to counter the claims.
Any letter aimed at putting Ireland’s position on the record of the US senate committee is likely to be sent by Ireland’s ambassador to the US, Michael Collins, with the text being drafted by the Department of Finance according to the Irish Times
IDA chief Barry O’Leary has said that he did not believe Ireland would change its tax policies in advance of any global agreement on a new regime.
He believes there will be changes but that it would be ‘very, very wrong’ for Ireland to act unilaterally.