Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore said on Tuesday (May 21) that Ireland was not to blame for computer giant Apple's low global tax payments.
The statement made by Gilmore came after the U.S. Senate said the company paid little or nothing on billions of dollars in profits stashed in Irish subsidiaries.
"Yes, but they are not issues that arise from the Irish taxation system. They are issues that arise from the taxation system in other jurisdictions and that's an issue that has to be addressed first of all in those jurisdictions," said Gilmore.
"Insofar as there is an international dimension to this, it needs to be tackled by having robust international agreements and Ireland very much is in favour of that. We have 69 tax agreements with different countries around the world. We are anxious to ensure through the European Union and through the OECD that there is a strong anti-tax avoidance regime in place and we will support whatever efforts are necessary to do that," he added, ahead of a General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.
In a 40-page memorandum released ahead of an appearance by Apple CEO Tim Cook before Congress on Tuesday, a Senate subcommittee identified three subsidiaries that have no 'tax residency' either in Ireland, where they are incorporated, or in the United States, where those companies are managed.
The main subsidiary, a holding company that includes Apple's retail stores throughout Europe, has not paid any corporate income tax in the last five years, the report said.
Gilmore said the issue would be discussed at a meeting of European Union officials on Tuesday.
The subsidiary identified by the Senate, which has a mailing address in the Irish city of Cork, received $29.9 billion in dividends from lower-tiered offshore Apple affiliates from 2009 to 2012, comprising 30 percent of Apple's total world-wide net profits, its report said.
The report said it exploited a difference between Irish and U.S. tax residency rules.
Apple said in a comment posted online on Monday (May 20) it does not use 'tax gimmicks'. It said the existence of its subsidiary 'Apple Operations International' in Ireland does not reduce Apple's U.S. tax liability and the company will pay more than $7 billion in U.S. taxes in fiscal 2013.
A number of U.S. multinationals, including Google and Facebook, have their European headquarters in Ireland to take advantage of its low corporate tax rate.
The government regularly touts its success in attracting international investment as one of its main achievements.
Presented by Adam Justice