Irish Committee Chooses Not To Grill Apple & Google About Tax

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An Irish parliamentary committee has dismissed the opportunity to grill Apple and Google over their tax affairs in Ireland, despite requests for a change to the way in which it taxes large multinationals that do business in its country.

The move comes weeks after Apple and Google came under scrutiny for the way in which they use tax “loopholes” or “gimmicks” to avoid paying excessive taxes on international sales. It was revealed that Apple used an Irish subsidiary with zero employees to pay less than 0.05% tax on $78 billion over four years.

Ciaran Lynch, chairman of the Irish parliament’s finance committee, insists it will continue with its own “watered down” inquiry into the matter, which it says will look at “global taxation and how Ireland engages with the global tax architecture,” The Guardian reports.

Although the committee will grill revenue commissioners, finance ministry officials, and other experts, it will not call upon company executives for questioning — so no one from Apple or Google will be included in the inquiry.

However, some believe it’s necessary to bring executives into it.

“How can we look anybody in the eye out there and defend the type of austerity measures that this government is introducing when we’re unwilling to take companies in [before parliament] who are not paying their fair share in this state?” said Pearse Doherty, finance spokesman for Sinn Fein.

“It can only be presented as this committee protecting these multinational firms who pay no tax here, who don’t employ anybody and who don’t pay any tax internationally. I think it makes a mockery out of this committee, an absolute mockery.”

Lynch argued that there is no need for Ireland to ask these companies the same questions that they have already faced from the U.K.’s public accounts committee, and the U.S.’s Senate subcommittee on investigations.

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