Overnight, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told the Irish Parliament that Ireland didn’t want Apple to pay the small nation back taxes, as the European Commission has ordered. While some PMs would love the 13 billion euros the EC demanded Apple pay to Ireland, Kenny said the government would challenge the ruling because it did not do deals with big corporations.
Instead of paying Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate, Apple pays tax at the rate of 0.05% (and actually, 0.005% in 2014), under a sweetheart deal with the Irish government struck in 1991, which is now the focus of the EC. Apple also rejects the deal and says it employs 6000 people in Ireland, mostly in the regional city of Cork. But for all the Irish largesse, Apple has not responded in kind — while it has the best part of US$200 billion on deposit in Irish banks and other accounts, it has not seen fit to open a single Apple store in Ireland.
There is one in Belfast and a further 64 in the UK, but the iPhone giant could not see its way clear to giving the Irish a fancy Apple store — even as a “thank you” to the country for such a big fat tax lurk. But you can buy Apple phones and other products from various resellers, including Australia’s own Harvey Norman, which has a chain of outlets across the country. Ireland has about 4.6 million people (by comparison, Sydney has roughly 5 million, and Apple has eight stores in Sydney alone).