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Irish MPs vote to let Apple off the tax inquiry hook


The chairman of the Irish parliament's finance committee has led a vote which has decided Apple will not face any questions over its tax practices in the country, according to The Guardian. The Irish Parliament originally agreed to conduct a tax inquiry into Apple's practices in the country after the United States Senate held a similar inquiry into Apple's tax practices last month.

The US Senate inquiry found that in 2011 over two-thirds of Apple's global taxable profits (about US$34 billion) were "earned" by Apple companies registered in Ireland. Those profits came from the United States and other EU nations, but were then routed through Ireland so Apple could take advantage of its special 1 percent corporate tax rate (or less) in the country.

While the Irish parliament's vote may work well for Apple, it's sure to infuriate other countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and other members of the European Union. Not all Irish politicians are happy about the finance committee's decision. As the finance spokesman for the Sinn Fein party, Pearse Doherty, puts it:

"How can we look anybody in the eye out there and defend the type of austerity measures that this government is introducing when we're unwilling to take companies in [before parliament] who are not paying their fair share in this state? It can only be presented as this committee protecting these multinational firms who pay no tax here, who don't employ anybody and who don't pay any tax internationally. I think it makes a mockery out of this committee, an absolute mockery."

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