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Taoiseach says Ireland does not give special tax deals

Enda Kenny came under pressure from reporters in Brussels ahead of a European Council meeting with a focus on tax evasion and fraud.

Image: Screengrab via Council of the European Union

AFTER DAYS OF scrutiny from the US Senate and international media, Enda Kenny has denied that special tax arrangements were made with two subsidiaries of tech giant Apple.

Speaking ahead of a Council of Europe meeting in Brussels this morning, the Taoiseach said Ireland’s corporate tax rate is statute based, clear and transparent. “We do not do special deals with companies in regard to the tax rate,” he added.

The Fine Gael leader claimed Ireland has been at the forefront of an international consensus to tackle “aggressive tax planning” by multinationals.

He told reporters that the European Commission has not been in contact with his office about Apple or any other company.

“Ireland does not allow for tax rate deals with individual companies,” he reiterated, stating he would say repeat that if necessary during today’s meeting, where the agenda will focus on both tax and energy.

Ireland will continue to compete for international business and a stable corporate tax rate is not the only reason companies choose it, according to Kenny who cited the country’s technology sector, track record and talent pool.

He also said that Ireland will continue to share tax information with the US, be party to OECD focus groups and stay in tune with movements internationally in terms of multinationals’ aggressive tax plans operating in many jurisdictions.

Entering the same meeting earlier in the morning, Great Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron said today’s event was important as the EU has to ensure companies pay taxes and countries share information.

“I want Britain to be a winner in the global race,” he added. “It is important to make sure the EU act together. It is good for our countries and for countries in the developing world.”

The meeting comes just days after Apple was accused of using Ireland as a tax haven by a US Senate subcommittee, which believes the firm negotiated a lower-than-normal two per cent tax rate. The company is not accused of doing anything illegal, and a statement denied using ‘tax gimmicks’. The Revenue and Finance Department also denied a special tax deal was negotiated with Apple.

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