Apple controversy lays bare complex Irish tax web
A Reuters investigation has found that swathes of U.S. companies are using Ireland to cut their tax bill.
Corporate income tax is 12.5 percent there – about a third of the top U.S. federal income tax rate of 35 percent.
An analysis of Irish and U.S. filings shows that more than 40 percent of the S&P 500 have registered subsidiaries in the country.
The information came to light when the U.S. Senate revealed that technology giant Apple had paid little or no tax on tens of billions of dollars in profits channelled through the country.
Apple's ability to pay tax of just two percent of its $74 billion in overseas income over the past three years hinged on an unusual loophole in the Irish tax code that allowed it to channel profits into Irish-incorporated subsidiaries that had no declared tax residency anywhere in the world.
Apple, which employs about 4,000 people in Ireland, is just one of many companies that route money through the country to cut taxes on company profits and fund investments.
PepsiCo Global Investment Holdings Ltd, which provides financing to other companies in the drinks group and is one of 14 Irish subsidiaries, made a profit of almost $6 million in 2011 and paid tax of $215 to Curacao, giving it a rate of 0.004 percent, Irish company records show.
A spokeswoman for PepsiCo said it fully complies with the tax laws where it operates and pays all taxes owed.
At least 206 of America's largest 500 companies by market capitalization have one or more subsidiaries in Ireland, Reuters research showed.
Drugmaker Pfizer leads the way with 32 Irish-registered companies. Pfizer makes some of it drugs in Ireland, employs 3,200 people and has invested $7 billion there in the last 45 years.
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