THE head of IDA Ireland has denied claims by US senators that computer giant Apple had a special tax deal in Ireland.
Chief executive Barry O'Leary told the Dail's Public Accounts Committee today he would not disclose Apple's tax set up here, as the agency does not divulge individual company's tax arrangements.
"There was no sweetheart deal for Apple. It was a comment that shouldn't have been made and it was retracted," said Mr O'Leary, who travelled to the US to meet with senators after the controversy flared.
The IDA boss also rejected criticism of Ireland's 12.5pc corporate tax rate, saying foreign companies paid €2.7bn in taxes here and our effective tax rate was not out of line with competing nations.
"The average salary of an employee at a multinational is €43,000, compared to €36,000 for an Irish owned company. On top of that multinationals pay an average of €19,000 per employee in corporate tax," he said.
Answering questions from Independent TD Shane Ross, Mr O'Leary said the effective tax rate, when various credits and incentives are taken into account, was probably 8.2pc.
In comparison, France - which has a headline corporate tax rate of 33pc - has an actual effective tax rate closer to 9pc.
He said the French "do special deals" to achieve this, such as write-offs and huge state subsidisation, which was not the case here.
"Our transparency is winning us more business than other locations," he said, adding that our consistent tax policy is an advantage.
Mr O'Leary said the so-called "double Irish" controversy, where multinationals brought down their tax liabilities by using inter company transfers to move cash from higher tax countries to lower tax ones, had not affected our standing internationally.
"There is no indication of that having any impact on our ability to attract foreign direct investment," he said.