It’s a plotline that should be reserved for the Theater of the Absurd: Party A is forced by Party B to pay Party C, in a transaction that neither Party A nor Party C had a hand in creating.
Apple insists it has no outstanding taxes. “We never asked for, nor did we receive, special deals,” Tim Cook wrote in an open letter last week. And yet an authoritarian, nontransparent “Commissioner of Competition” is ordering the company to shell out an arbitrarily exorbitant amount to the government of Ireland—which doesn’t even want Apple’s money.
And why would it? As you might imagine, Ireland fears risking a stain on its tax advantaged status that has succeeded in attracting hundreds of billions in foreign direct investment.[related_stories]
Eurocrats Envious of Ireland’s Competitive Advantage and America’s Ingenuity
Over the last 50 years, the country has carved out a reputation as a prime destination for multinationals seeking a competitive corporate tax rate. At 12.5 percent, Ireland’s rate is much more attractive than the U.S. rate, 35 percent, one of the highest in the world. (Other countries with similarly high rates include Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela—not exactly model examples of business-friendly regimes.)
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