John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Ireland Plans to End Apple’s “Holy Grail of Tax Avoidance”

holygrailApple and other companies who’ve used Ireland as “the Holy Grail of tax avoidance” may soon have to find another means of trimming their tax bills, because the Irish government plans to amend its corporate tax laws so foreign companies can no longer use Irish subsidiaries to sidestep behemoth tax payments.

In a Tuesday budget speech, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan pledged to pass legislation that will close a tax loophole that Apple famously used to pay almost no corporate taxes on some $74 billion over the past four years (Note: Google and Microsoft have made very good use of it as well).

“Let me be crystal clear: Ireland wants to be part of the solution to this global tax challenge, not part of the problem,” Noonan said.

For Ireland, which has bristled at the suggestion that it has been a facilitator of tax avoidance, passing legislation that closes the loophole was likely the only way to mute controversy surrounding its corporate tax regime. That said, the move does leave open Ireland’s other infamous tax loophole — the “Double Irish” — and the country will continue to play a big role in tax planning by U.S. multinationals for that reason.

Apple declined comment on Noonan’s remarks.

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December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm PT

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik