OK maybe I should expand on that a little.
All right, let’s break it down: Should Apple and Google pay more tax?
Should they pay that tax in Ireland?
Should they shite.
They ought to be paying the tax in – ooh, I don’t know – the countries where they actually owe the tax? The places where they did the work and made the profit. As opposed to giving it to us for letting them pretend they do their business here. Apple and Google are not the only examples of this of course, and I’m sure that they’re far from the most egregious. They do actually do some stuff here, unlike hundreds of companies that have their brass-effect plaques in the IFSC. But they are immensely profitable and we are helping them keep more of those profits for themselves. For a cut.
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with offering a slightly lower rate of corporate tax to attract business, especially if it’s a loss you’re willing to take in order to compensate for another disadvantage – a fairly peripheral location, for example. It could, and I’m sure it once did, attract people to do real business and create real employment here that they would not otherwise have.
But when the rates are so low that they tempt corporations to just start trucking money through the country, and when we provide them with “pro-business regulation” that doesn’t check excessively carefully to make sure all that money is really being made here, then we are stealing. It’s as simple as that. Those companies should be paying taxes to the people of other countries, but we’re taking it.
And ultimately, it does us no good. Just look. This easy-money attitude helped create a soufflé economy that grew and grew and grew until it wasn’t there. Some people made billions out of it of course, but all most of us have to show is debt, negative equity, unemployment.
To this we can add international pariah status. Did you not notice Eurovision?
So now we begin again. What if we try to rebuild the economy on radical principles – like proper regulation, reasonable taxation, and actual value?
- Apple pays tax rate of less than 2pc in Ireland (independent.ie)
- Apple disputes claims of tax avoidance (telegraph.co.uk)
- Apple tax row: Ireland says its tax regime is not to blame (guardian.co.uk)
- Apple’s Tim Cook gives evidence as questions raised over Irish tax rates (independent.ie)