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Firm traded here almost tax-free for 30 years

Apple operated almost tax-free in Ireland since 1980, senior officials at the computer and phone company have revealed.

The new details of the arrangements between the company and the Irish Government give more background to Taoiseach Enda Kenny's assertion that no special deal was reached between Apple and the Irish Government in the 1980s.

The description seems to back up Mr Kenny's claim that there was no special deal. The latest reports appear to suggest Apple benefited from the standard tax breaks given to other foreign operations.

Yesterday a former Apple executive revealed that its almost tax-free status dates back to computer company's arrival in Cork 33 years ago.

Del Yocam, vice president of manufacturing at Apple in the early 1980s, said that "there were tax concessions for us to go there." He added that the concessions were "big". Another former finance executive said the company paid no taxes in Ireland in the beginning.

"We had a tax holiday for the first 10 years in Ireland. We paid no taxes to the Irish Government," he added.

Apple was not the only company to benefit from the tax regime although it was among the last to enjoy such favourable treatment. Eligible foreign manufacturing companies arriving in 1980 were given tax holidays until 1990. From 1981, companies arriving had to pay tax thanks to laws from Europe.

John Sculley, Apple's chief executive from 1983 to 1993, said Irish Government subsidies had also played a role.

In 1980, Apple entered into a deal with its Cork operation, whereby the latter would share the cost of funding research and development.

In return, the Irish unit would be able to enjoy rights to intellectual property for goods sold outside the Americas.

Irish Independent