Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Irish government writes to US senator over Apple's taxes

Apple CEO Timothy Cook delivers opening remarks while testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Investigations Subcommittee about the company's offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Apple CEO Timothy Cook delivers opening remarks while testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Investigations Subcommittee about the company's offshore profit shifting and tax avoidance in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Irish Government has at last written to the US senator investigating how companies use Ireland to avoid tax.

The letter, signed with a scrawl by ambassador Michael Collins, denies claims that Apple got a special deal to pay almost no tax on its Irish business. It was delivered to Senator Carl Levin on Thursday.

"Ireland's tax system is set out in statute, so there is no possibility of individual special tax rates," the letter claims.

Earlier this week, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said there was no "special deal to give Apple a flat tax rate of 2%" in Ireland, apparently refuting what he had told the Senate committee under oath last week.

He has not, however, said whether there was an agreement on what income the Government would charge tax on. In that case, there would not need to be a flat tax rate – the issue would be how much of Apple's income would be deemed taxable by the State.

Responding to questions from the committee, the Apple chief said: "Since the early 1990s, the Government of Ireland has calculated Apple's taxable income in such a way as to produce an effective rate in the low single digits, and this is the primary factor that contributes to Apple's rate.

"The rate has varied from year to year, but since 2003 has been 2% or less."

Dublin has repeatedly denied there was any deal on tax between Apple and the State on its taxes.

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