TJN has always taken a sceptical view of corporate social responsibility. Our outlook has been shaped by the view that real social and economic responsibility starts with paying the right amount of tax, to the right country, at the right time.
From Americans for Tax Fairness, a major new report about corporate taxes in the United States. It’s called Corporate Tax Chartbook: How Corporations Rig the Rules to Dodge the Taxes They Owe, and it contains many useful facts, such as this:
- Corporate profits are way up, and corporate taxes are way down. In 1952, corporate profits were 5.5 percent of the economy, and corporate taxes were 5.9 percent. Today, corporate profits are 8.5 percent of the economy, and corporate taxes are just 1.9 percent of GDP.
We have for years remarked that one of our informal markers of a tax haven is loud tax haven denials. See our ‘we are not a tax haven‘ blog for more. There’s probably no place more vocal than Ireland, where there seems to be a veritable industry of tax haven deniers, which specialises in cherry-picking convenient facts and making a pudding of them. (The other big Irish tax myth is that it was the 12.5 percent corporate tax rate that created Ireland’s Celtic Tiger: no, it wasn’t.)
Let’s state it clearly: Ireland is a big tax haven for multinational corporations, even if it isn’t particularly secretive. Or, in more succinct form, for those who have difficulty reading small text:
Ireland is a tax haven.
Update: now on Naked Capitalism, where it’s attracted a lot of interesting commentary
Last year we published a document entitled Ten Reasons to Defend the Corporate Income Tax, outlining how the tax is under constant attack, in country after country, and explaining why it is one of the most precious of all taxes. Now there’s another fascinating paper, rich in insight and detail, from US economist Kimberly Clausing, entitled “Strengthening the Indispensible U.S. Corporate Tax.
While US-focused, it contains a lot of material that provides extensive further support for our own generic document, and argues that the corporate income tax is becoming more, rather than less, important in our tax system(s). It also argues that tax rates for capital, which is currently taxed at lower rates than labour is, should be harmonised with the labour rate, and supports so-called ‘formulary apportionment‘ approaches to taxing U.S. corporations internationally.
We’ll start by highlighting a graph:
Press Release: Has the European Commission’s Apple decision signalled the beginning of the end of tax wars?
Has the European Commission’s Apple decision signalled the beginning of the end of tax wars?
Today, the European Commission has ruled that two tax rulings issued by the Irish tax administration on the tax treatment of Apple’s corporate profits represent illegal state aid under EU law. As a consequence, Apple has to pay up to €13 billion of taxes plus interest to Ireland. This sum due to the Irish exchequer can be reduced if other countries from Europe, Africa, the Middle East or India or the United States decide to claim a share of those profits. This lays bare the core of a global problem: secretive tax rulings issued by tax haven states are not an instrument for the avoidance of double taxation, but a tool for the achievement of non-taxation of profits. In practice such rulings destroy fair market competition and undermine the tax sovereignty of democratic states.
This decision is remarkable on at least three counts.