Ireland May End Apple Tax Residency Loophole
Ireland may shut down a tax loophole that allowed Apple to avoid declaring itself a tax resident in any country, reports The Street.
Apple, which currently has multiple subsidiary companies in the Irish city of Cork (Apple Operations International (AOI) Apple Operations Europe, Apple Operations, Apple Sales International and Apple Distribution International), is able to move money around the world without tax penalties because companies managed and controlled abroad but located in Ireland are not subjected to taxes.
"The second measure to be included in the Finance Bill is a change to our company residence rules aimed at eliminating mismatches – that can exist between tax treaty partners in certain circumstances – being used to allow companies to be ‘stateless’ in terms of their place of tax residence," the country said in a press release on Tuesday.
Subsidiary Apple Operations International has come under scrutiny in recent months for exploiting the loophole, as it has received billions of dollars between 2009 and 2011, but paid no taxes to any government. According to Apple’s own statement on the matter, AOI is incorporated in Ireland and therefore not a tax resident in the United States, but as it is controlled via the U.S., it does not meet the tax resident requirements in Ireland either.
According to Reuters, requiring companies to declare a tax residence will have little overall impact on Apple, as Ireland will allow companies to choose any country as a tax residence, including zero tax jurisdictions.
A spokesman for the Department of Finance declined to explain the change but denied it was due to U.S. pressure.
He added that companies could still nominate any country they liked as their tax residence, including zero tax jurisdictions such as Bermuda - a provision that tax advisers said was unusual internationally.
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook testified in front of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee of Investigation following an accusation that the company avoided paying billions in federal taxes via “extensive tax-avoidance strategies.”
During the hearing, Tim Cook insisted that Apple pays all of its taxes. "We pay all of the taxes we owe, every single dollar," he said. After an extensive investigation of Apple’s finances and disclosure practices concluded in September, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opted not to take any action against the company.
Apple has said that it plans to use its extensive foreign cash pile to invest abroad, creating additional Apple Stores overseas, expanding its iTunes Store, and boosting its international marketing.