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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 24 July, 2014

Coveney ‘not surprised’ by claims of Apple’s $850m Irish tax avoidance

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that the Finance Minister is dealing with the issue of “statelessness”.

The Apple store in Santa Monica, California.
The Apple store in Santa Monica, California.
Image: AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Updated 7pm

“THERE’S NOTHING SURPRISING” in reports that Apple paid €36 million in tax on profits of $7.1 billion in Ireland according to Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.

Reports in a number of newspapers this morning contained details of accounts form Apple Sales International (ASI) with the Irish Times claiming that Apple avoided $850 million in Irish tax between 2004 and 2008.

But, speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Coveney said the reports were “not new”, insisting that Ireland is at the forefront of working towards fair tax strategies for multinationals.

He explained the discrepancy between profits registered here and what tax is taken as akin to the situation where an Irish citizen tax resident abroad:

Just like we have Irish citizens who are resident abroad who don’t pay tax here, companies have Irish registered elements to their company that aren’t resident here and we can’t secure a tax from that.

“That’s my understanding of the explanation between the difference in the figures here and what’s actually paid and the turnover or profit of an Irish registered company,” he said.

Speaking at Government Buildings this afternoon, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that Ireland’s corporate tax system is “statute based” and that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is dealing with the issue of “statelessness” of some companies.

He said that the government is cooperating with the OECD on this. German chancellor Angela Merkel said she could “only underline” what Kenny said.

But Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy believes that the Taoiseach must answer questions directly on this issue.

He says that the $850 million cut in Apple’s Irish tax bill could have been used to avoid some of the austerity measures implemented by the Government

“Once again, it has been revealed that Ireland is a tax haven for multinational corporations. The use of creative accounting, and scams like the ‘Double Irish’ have seen Apple Sales International pay a pittance in corporation tax for at least a decade,” he said.

Earlier this year, Kenny was forced to dismiss claims that the government makes specific tax deals with Apple or any other multinational companies.

- additional reporting Hugh O’Connell

First published 11.32am

Read: Taoiseach dismisses claims he makes specific deals with multinational companies >

Read: Multinational companies paid just 2.2 per cent tax in 2011 – report >

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