The United States’ new view of Ireland: ‘tax haven’

Since the EU ruled that Apple owes Ireland €13bn in tax, more Americans have views on Ireland’s tax policies – and even compare the country to Bermuda or the Caymans

Market forces: “I think many Americans would love to see Apple repatriate Irish tax revenue,” says Carey Milley, a California estate agent. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Market forces: “I think many Americans would love to see Apple repatriate Irish tax revenue,” says Carey Milley, a California estate agent. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Answering the same questions every couple of weeks is a part of life for Irish people living in the US. American perceptions of Ireland are mostly positive, so although talking about the rain, drink, Conor McGregor and the Cliffs of Moher can become boring, at least we don’t find ourselves trying to defend, say, a poor human-rights record or an authoritarian regime.

But for the past three months a more serious subject has dominated conversations about Ireland: corporate taxation. Since August, when the European Union told the Republic to collect €13 billion in tax from the tech giant Apple, more and more people have been asking me about Ireland’s status as some kind of tax haven – and even compared us to the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

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