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Ireland faced further questions over its corporate tax rate on Wednesday after US senators branded the country as a ‘tax haven’.
Those remarks came during Apple CEO Tim Cook’s appearance before the US Senate where he rejected allegations that the California-based firm was ‘sheltering’ large chunks of its earnings in so-called shell companies based in Ireland.
Cook’s testimony came just 24 hours before Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny attended an EU summit on the topics of tax evasion.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Kenny denied the tech giant had a special deal to pay a corporate tax rate of just two percent, instead of the statutory 12.5 percent.
“Ireland’s corporate tax rate is statute-based, very clear, very transparent, and we do not do any special deals with any individual companies in regard to that tax rate,” said Kenny.
The Irish premier added that the European Commission had not contacted his government to discuss Ireland’s corporate tax rate.
By comparison, Germany taxes corporations at 29.5 percent, whereas France slaps a levy of 33.3 percent on major firms.
Carl Dolan, an EU policy officer at Transparency International, said one answer would be to encourage more sharing of fiscal and financial information.
“You also need to make sure that there is much more detailed financial reporting from multinational corporations so that in every country where they operate they are also reporting the taxes that they pay and the revenues that they earn,” he told euronews.
Britain will put tax evasion at the top of the agenda when it chairs June’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
It follows revelations about the way multinationals, such as Amazon and Starbucks, handle their tax affairs.