Apple Got No Sweetheart Accord on Corporate Tax Bill, Irish Say

Ireland provides no special tax concessions for Apple Inc. or other U.S. companies operating in the country, the nation’s inward investment agency chief said, echoing comments by Irish political leaders.

“There is no special deal for Apple or any other company,” Barry O’Leary, chief executive officer of IDA Ireland said in an interview with Dublin-based broadcaster RTE today. “I’m certainly in a position to say that nothing like that has been agreed by the Irish government.”

Irish policy makers today continued to defend the country’s tax regime, with deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore saying today that laws apply equally to all companies. A U.S. senate panel report this week said that Apple negotiated a tax rate of less than 2 percent with Irish authorities. Ireland applies a rate of 12.5 percent on company taxes.

“Just because you heard it yesterday in the Senate committee doesn’t mean to say it’s factually correct,” O’Leary said. “It’s not something that the government did for Apple.”

Apple, the world’s most-valuable technology company, has $102 billion in offshore accounts and shifted billions in profits out of the U.S. into affiliates based in Ireland, according to the report. Investigations found that Apple avoided paying income taxes on $74 billion of profit during the past four years in part by moving patent rights to a web of offshore subsidiaries that pay virtually no income taxes.

Every Dollar

According to the report yesterday, Apple told the investigation that the Irish government had calculated the company’s taxable income to produce an “effective rate in the low-single digits.”

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook yesterday said the company had done nothing wrong and said it pays “all the taxes we owe -- every single dollar.”

The Cupertino, California-based company is also not alone in moving profits to offshore units. Google, for example, has used a pair of tax shelters that move foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda to avoid about $2 billion in income taxes a year, according to the company’s filings in the U.S.

Google, which didn’t reply to an e-mail request for comment yesterday, said in December that it complies with all tax rules, and its investment in various European countries helps their economies.

U.S. companies invested about $188 billion in foreign direct investment in Ireland as of 2011, more than the total for Brazil, Russia, India and China, according to data on the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland. In 2011, U.S. companies accounted for 74 percent of inward investment in Ireland, according to agency.

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