Monday 5 December 2016

Amazon is not "motivated" by Irish low tax regime

Published 31/05/2015 | 02:30

Amazon has a number of data centres in the Dublin area, as well as a large development centre focused primarily on core engineering
Amazon has a number of data centres in the Dublin area, as well as a large development centre focused primarily on core engineering

Ireland's tax regime isn't a major reason for Amazon's presence here, according to Amazon Data Services Ireland general manager Jeff Caselden.

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Caselden was speaking to the Sunday Independent in the week that Amazon agreed to substantially alter its European tax arrangements, in a move that could lift their tax bill by $100m according to Reuters analysts.

The company's arrangement saw European customers buy products through Luxembourg companies, meaning national authorities in other countries couldn't assess tax on sales revenues in those countries.

Now Amazon's local branches are booking revenue in the US, Germany, Italy and Spain, a person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.

But Caselden said that though tax might be a "positive kind of benefit that you get out of being located in Ireland," Amazon's presence here has "all been about the talent, the connectivity to the rest of Europe, but as well as to North America."

"The one thing that I will say is that that's not a huge motivation for us being here."

Caselden, who became an Irish citizen at the end of 2014, said Ireland is "tracking in a very positive direction".

"It's a really positive message, it's one that we're trying to sell a little bit more even within our own organisation, to show the benefits of why to continue to invest in Ireland, and to even bring more talent and more diversity to the table for us here.

"We said at the end of the last year that we expected to add 300 new jobs (in Ireland) over the next two years. We've added almost that entire tranche within 6 months of that announcement," Caselden said.

"We've seen fairly strong kind of recovery in the economy here. From a talent point of view, we still have great access to talent in this market but also across the European Union, so that's a huge benefit to us here, a country where it's very easy for us to do business.

"The Government and folks like the IDA are hugely cooperative and work with us at length to ensure that whatever it is that we need to do here to be successful and to propel our business forward, and to provide the service that our customers have come to expect from us, that we're able to do so," he added.

"Future plans here I would say are continuing to expand to meet the needs of our customers really. We've been here for ten years now, we've gone from 50-60 people when I arrived in 2008 to now over 750. "And a lot of that growth has been driven by the growth of AWS (Amazon Web Services), so as the cloud computing industry just continues to gather momentum, and more and more people start to adopt that paradigm, that model, I think it just means continued business for us and continued growth here in Ireland.

Amazon has a number of data centres in the Dublin area, as well as a large development centre focused primarily on core engineering.

U"Unlike some of the other big multinationals who are here with very large sales and marketing organisations, ours is purely technology and engineering. Everything from actually building the data centres themselves and designing them...to actually building the network that powers everything that we do. A lot of that core network development goes on here in Dublin," Caselden said.

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