Bruton defends corporate tax rate

Ireland will be able to maintain its current corporation tax code in the face of international pressure to prevent multinational corporations avoid paying their fare share of tax, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton said yesterday.

Mr Bruton said Ireland has a transparent low rate that does not have a lot of special deals within it. His comments came days after British parliamentarians castigated Google for paying just £6m (€7.1m) in corporation tax in 2011 despite generating more than £3bn (€3.6bn) a year in revenues in the UK.

“I don’t see this as an attack on our code which I think is robust and fair but there is no doubt that there is a feeling that companies can use the different codes, the way they interact, and there will be changes I am sure in that area,” he told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics yesterday.

Mr Bruton said the Irish code is meeting all the OECD requirements of “not having any harmful elements of tax competition”.

In Britain, Labour leader Ed Miliband will write new rules to tackle corporate tax dodgers if he wins the next election, even if there is no international consensus for action.

Prime Minister David Cameron will lead efforts at next month’s G8 summit of world leaders to find ways of preventing multinational firms from exploiting tax loopholes.

Meanwhile, former Google executive Barney Jones has told The Sunday Times that British taxpayers are being “cheated” by the company.

The whistleblower claims Google has a system in place which diverts British profits through Ireland to the Bermuda tax haven.

He said: “It uses a concocted scheme to avoid tax. It’s a smokescreen to distort where the substance of its economic activity is really taking place.”

The Sunday Times said Mr Jones is ready to hand over a cache of more than 100,000 emails and documents to HM Revenue & Customs detailing the scheme.

And in the US, Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook will propose tax changes that would encourage US firms to bring home more of their offshore funds when he faces congressional queries next Tuesday over his company’s overseas cash holdings and tax bills, The Washington Post reported.

Cook also told the Post that the 35% tax on cash brought back to the United States is a “very high number”.

“We are not proposing that it be zero. I know many of our peers believe that. But I don’t view that. But I think it has to be reasonable,” he said.

* Additional reporting PA and Reuters


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