Wednesday 16 October 2019

Coalition must refute tax claims

APPLE chief executive Tim Cook's confirmation that there was no special deal on how much tax the company paid here will be music to the ears of the Government. On the face of it, Mr Cook appears to have drawn a line under that particular aspect of the Apple tax row, but the executive chose his words carefully.

By referring explicitly to a "flat tax" rate, he has not answered the suggestion that the agreement may have been on how much of Apple's income in Ireland was taxable, rather than what rate was paid.

Either way, confirmation that there was no deal does not excuse the Government for its failure to contact the US Senator Carl Levin, who repeatedly described Ireland as a "tax haven" at the Apple hearings in Washington.

Since Mr Levin made that allegation more than a week ago, the Government has blustered about writing to him but done nothing about it, while practically every major media outlet in the world has branded Ireland with that damaging title.

In the age of the internet and email, there is no excuse for there not having been contact by now. Even without email, what is to stop the Irish ambassador informally speaking to the senator now, with a formal response to follow?

Today, the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, is in Derry to speak at a technology conference.

It is doubtful he would see the logic of waiting for days when an instant response is required. The Government would be wise to do the same.

Irish Independent

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