Apple's 'Jersey tax avoidance links' to be investigated

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says that Ireland absolutely supports tax transparency internationally

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says that Ireland absolutely supports tax transparency internationally

IT giant Apple reacted to global accusations of tax avoidance by secretly shifting key parts of its overseas subsidiaries to Jersey, according to an analysis of the leaked Paradise Papers documents.

It is the latest revelation from the vast set of papers throwing light on the offshore activities of certain companies and individuals.

With help from lawyers including Applebys, Apple reportedly started channelling its profits through the offshore tax haven of Jersey after Ireland started to clamp down on the amount of tax Apple was paying there.

There's no indication Apple has done anything illegal. Apple's offshore profits aren't taxed by the United States and they're largely untouched by other governments.

Apple paid nearly no tax on earnings of more than $100bn over four years, US Senator Carl Levin and former presidential candidate John McCain claimed, although Apple mounted a strong defence.

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Apple has defended its tax arrangements after reports revealed it had shifted its mountain of offshore cash from Ireland to a tax haven in the English Channel.

That expenditure could be used to completely write-off the need to pay tax on profits booked by Apple Operations Europe, because the 80 per cent cap was removed. We do not depend on tax gimmicks.

- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has, through the Duchy of Lancaster which provides her income and handles her investments, placed around £10 million ($13 million, €11.3 million) of her private money in funds held in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

"We believe every company has a responsibility to pay the taxes they owe and we're proud of the economic contributions we make to the countries and communities where we do business".

The corporation has earmarked more than $36 billion to cover deferred U.S. taxes due on this cash, whenever it is repatriated to the US.

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According to Apple, the debate over its taxes is not about how much it owes, but where it is owed.

In 2014 then minister for finance Michael Noonan changed Ireland's tax rules so that all of a corporation's annual profits could be written off using capital allowances. In fact, our payments to Ireland increased significantly and over the last three years we've paid $1.5 billion in tax there - 7% of all corporate income taxes paid in that country. In the following Budget, it moved to shut down the so-called "Double Irish" tax avoidance strategy.

The BBC report cites evidence uncovered in the Panama Papers suggesting Apple actively sought out an alternative arrangement from 2014 onwards.

The record-breaking case surrounding Apple has placed a major spotlight on Ireland's tax regime and led to criticism from the likes of US President Donald Trump.

The EC then took Ireland to the European Court of Justice earlier this month when the Irish government had failed to reclaim any of the money since the order was given.

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