An Irish parliamentary committee has refused calls to bring in and grill Apple, Google and other international companies over their tax affairs.
Such companies are using the Irish tax regime – which takes less corporation tax from companies than the UK and other countries – to locate subsidiary companies where international sales and profits are banked to drastically reduce their overall tax bills.
Instead, Ciaran Lynch, chairman of the Irish parliament’s finance committee, intends to press ahead with an inquiry that will simply consider “global taxation and how Ireland engages with the global tax architecture”.
Such an inquiry will rely on evidence from local revenue commissioners and finance ministry officials, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and others.
But company executives will not be dragged to Dublin to give evidence. Unlike in the UK, where senior executives from Google and other technology companies have faced heavy questioning over their tax affairs, and the relatively low amount of tax they pay in the UK.
Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty is angered at the decision. He said, “How can we look anybody in the eye out there and defend the type of austerity measures that this government is introducing, when we’re unwilling to bring in companies before parliament who are not paying their fair share in this state?”
He said, “It can only be presented as this committee protecting these multinational firms who pay no tax here, who don’t employ anybody here and who don’t pay any tax internationally. I think it makes a mockery out of this committee, an absolute mockery.”
Lynch insisted there was no need for Ireland to replicate evidence from tax investigations carried out by the UK parliamentary public accounts committee and the US Senate.
by Antony Savvas, Computerworld UK