‘Nothing surprising’ about Apple tax figures, Coveney says

Acceptance in EU at level of explanations on Irish tax, Minister says

 Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney he compared the situation to ’Irish citizens that are resident aboard that don’t pay tax here’. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney he compared the situation to ’Irish citizens that are resident aboard that don’t pay tax here’. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said there was “nothing surprising” about figures which show that Apple paid corporation tax to Irish authorities of $36m on profits of $7.11 billion.

“This isn’t a new story...there is nothing surprising here,” Mr Coveney said in response to The Irish Times report containing figures which show how Apple has managed to pay almost no corporation tax for years on billions of dollars of revenue earned in other countries, using unlimited Irish entities.

According to accounts obtained by The Irish Times for one of those unlimited companies, Apple Sales International (ASI), the consumer electronics giant cut its Irish tax bill by more than $850 million between 2004 and 2008, using an unexplained “lower rate”.

Mr Coveney said there were multinational firms that had Irish registered elements to their company that “aren’t resident here and we can’t secure a tax on that.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he compared the situation to “Irish citizens that are resident aboard that don’t pay tax here”.

He said: “I think there is acceptance and understanding certainly at a European level and also within the US now of the explanations around that.”

Mr Coveney said Ireland was heavily involved in an OECD “project looking at way we can secure increased taxation from international global companies who have operations all over the world”.

In a statement responding to Mr Coveney, Independent MEP Nessa Childers said there was “no acceptance in Europe of the loopholes which allow big businesses to contribute just a tiny amount of tax to the Irish exchequer”.

Ms Childers said the figures reported in The Irish Times show Apple “has been allowed for years to pay close to zero corporation tax on billions of dollars earned in other countries, using unlimited Irish entities. “