Ireland opposes grilling Apple and Google execs over tax shelters

Apple execs swearing on tax reform hearing

Apple executives, and other tech titans under fire for their tax avoidance practices, can sigh with relief. An Irish committee voted earlier against asking Apple CEO Tim Cook and others about how they used the Irish tax laws to limit what they owe the IRS. Instead, a finance committee of the parliament will put European finance officials on the hot seat.

An investigation by a U.S. Senate subcommittee found Apple funneled a large portion of its income through an Irish business unit, which charged a very low tax rate. As part of that investigation, Cook was called to answer Senator’s questions…

Ireland’s Sinn Fein had led the call for Cook and other tech leaders to testify before the country’s legislative committee. After word that no execs would testify, Britain’s The Guardian reported that a Sinn Fein finance spokesman said:

The decision can only be presented as this committee protecting these multinational firms who pay not taxes here, who don’t employ anybody and who don’t pay any taxes internationally.

A rash of investigations into how European countries treat multinational corporations began, including in Ireland, the UK and the European Union.

In the US, no concrete action has been taken to mend the holes in the current tax laws.

For Apple, the episode only fueled a desire to double its lobbying efforts in Washington DC for what euphemistically is called ‘tax reform’. Apple had suggested it would repatriate its foreign hoard of cash if the IRS would offer more favorable terms.