(May 2013) Apple in its fiscal year 2012 accounts revealed an effective corporate tax rate on foreign income of 2% - - see page 61 of the Securities and Exchange Commissions 10- filing. On Monday, the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed the story behind Apple's massive tax avoidance and while Apple claims to be the biggest US corporate taxpayer, it is also "among America's largest tax avoiders," said Senator John McCain, the panel's senior Republican. A report from the subcommittee says: "Apple told the Subcommittee that, for many years, Ireland has provided Apple affiliates with a special tax rate that is substantially below its already relatively low statutory rate of 12 percent. Apple told the Subcommittee that it had obtained this special rate through negotiations with the Irish government."
(May 2013) Irish Economy: The ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute), the publicly-funded independent think-tank, today forecasts GDP (gross domestic product) growth of 1.8% in 2013 and 2.7% in 2014, but behind the headline figures is a grim outlook with a reliance on tax-related services exports, emigration and an acknowledgement that research shows the economy contracted more in recent years than was suggested by the official data.
(May 2013) Officially Irish GDP growth was 0.9% in 2012 but this was a fiction. All the reported growth resulted from tax-related accounting transactions at major US multinationals. In the real economy economic reports confirm a grim picture and despite the Irish Government's optimistic outlook for 2015 in its latest forecasts, unemployment is set to remain at crisis levels.
(April 2013) Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, the US economists who have been accused of dodgy calculations in a paper on the impact of high government debt that became a crutch for some advocates of austerity, have hit back at their critics and defended their central claim.
(April 2013) The Irish R&D tax scheme was introduced in 2004 and companies benefiting from the credit have increased from below 50 to more than 1,200 in less than a decade. However, only about one-third of foreign-owned firms in receipt of state agency support, submit claims. It will cost at least €270m this year in taxes foregone. Our view is that the impact of the tax credit on innovation is likely to be marginal at best and while the failure to meet the 2006 target for Ireland to be recognised as a world class knowledge economy by 2013 was quietly buried, the efficacy of the credit that cuts an already low headline corporate tax rate of 12.5%, merits questioning.
(March 2013) Official data reported last week showed that GDP (gross domestic product) in Ireland rose 0.9% in 2012 but in real world terms, excluding tax-related intercompany transactions at US services giants, the Irish economy actually shrank. Even based on official data, a downwardly revised 0.4% contraction in Q3 and marginally negative GDP growth in Q4 mean that the economy was technically back in recession.
(March 2013) Irish export growth has slowed sharply through 2012. Total exports grew by 2% in the year to Q3 2012, down from 5% calendar year growth in 2011. Headline, services export growth has remained robust, up 7.6% on the year, but goods exports fell 3.4% in the year to Q3 2012. However, services export growth mainly results from the tax strategies of companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, to divert end-user revenues in other markets to Ireland.
(February 2013) In countries with high proportions of young (under 25 years of age) apprentices relative to the employed population - - Austria, Germany and Switzerland - - youth unemployment is currently much lower than other countries. So while this is a time when State funds are generally plentiful for research, the Irish youth unemployment rate is at 30% (excluding those in education) and Ireland has the worst participation in apprenticeship schemes in Europe. It also restricts activity to traditional crafts and few females are involved. Most countries include business services such as ICT and there is significant female participation.
(February 2013) The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) said this month that the good news is that many countries have stepped-up reform efforts in recent years. The pick-up in the overall pace of reforms, already noted in last year’s Going for Growth, has been confirmed. Reforms have continued to be particularly intense among Eurozone peripheral countries under financial assistance programmes or acute market pressures - - Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The think-tank says each of these countries has put in place broad policy packages that include changes in politically-sensitive areas such as labour laws, wage bargaining and welfare systems. They are also implementing significant fiscal consolidation programmes. We would argue that structural reform in Ireland has not been significant.
(February 2013) G-20 (Group of Twenty) finance ministers and central bank governors on Saturday at a meeting in Moscow backed plans to tackle massive tax avoidance by multinational firms. "We are determined to develop measures to address base erosion and profit shifting, take the necessary collective action and look forward to the comprehensive action plan the OECD will present to us in July," the final communiqué said.