Tuesday, 30 August 2016

another miaow from the Celtic tiger?

I doubt Apple will be bringing out an operating system codenamed Green Tiger anytime soon?

With the backdrop of that EU ruling it's still hardly a secret that Ireland is a good place for US European headquarters.

The difference in definitions of domicile allow lightly taxed US corporate money to be parked on the edge of the EU. As Father Ted said, "Just resting in our account."

Who wouldn't mind a sub 1% tax bill? But wait, if we believe the EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Apple's Irish tax is only 0.05%, dropping to only 0.005%. That's maybe until they could shift the money back to America. Many American companies plan to repatriate money to the US after favourable taxation changes (which haven't happened).

The quip about US folk popping over to Ireland to look at some horses, have a round of golf, drink a Guinness and run a quick HQ meeting is so old that it could probably be used in a new BBC sitcom.

As well as Apple, there's plenty more companies with this kind of EU HQ arrangement. They are often based around Silicon Docks, which is an area specially built to help these companies get established.

Around the Grand Canal area there's Google, Facebook, Accenture, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, to name a few. The city centre has a few more well-known ones including Amazon.com, Linkedin and Dropbox.

Some companies have been in Ireland since the start of the light taxation business practices. Oracle, Microsoft, Intel and Salesforce spring to mind, with Microsoft outgrowing its original site (which it sold on to Blackstone) before building some
new campuses. Some, like Dell, Intel, Apple and Microsoft have also been notably big employers in the country.

So I'm wondering whether there's any more of these companies enjoying taxation advantages by being based in what was once called the Celtic Tiger?

It seems to be a curious win-win for Ireland anyway. They get everyone over for the cheap taxation and then apparently reluctantly get to take a further lump of it later. Maybe these windfalls will help the kitty have more lives?


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