Ireland has responded to criticism from Senater Carl Levin (D-Mich.) that Irish tax laws allowed Apple to avoid playing taxes on tens of billions of dollars in profits using Irish subsidiaries. So what did Ireland have to say for itself?
In a statement to RTE, Ireland's national broadcast network, Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore said:
These are not issues that arise from the Irish taxation system. They are issues that arise from the taxation systems in other jurisdictions, and that is an issue that has to be addressed first of all in those jurisdictions.
Ireland's answer is simple. If American companies like Apple are using loopholes in the American tax system to skirt playing their taxes, it's not Ireland's fault, and we should fix our system before we come after theirs. It's a good point.
The issue isn't that Ireland provided a safe haven for Apple to hide profits. It's that American tax law is so convoluted and full of loopholes that American companies like Apple can enjoy all the benefits of being an American company while paying a fraction of the taxes our laws say they own.
It will be interesting to see if these hearings will simply be an attempt to shame the company for tax avoidance, or if it will finally be the catalyst for closing the massive web of loopholes that make up the country's tax system.