Apple’s clever tax practices make it Ireland’s biggest company

Move over Guinness, hold the Jameson’s, and don’t even think about Kerrygold. When it comes to Ireland’s biggest company, no-one holds a candle to, err, Apple.

You know, that company headquartered in California, which builds products in China, and sells them everywhere on the planet.

According to the 2019 edition of The Irish Times, Apple was ranked Ireland’s largest company by a wide margin. With sales of 119 billion euros ($133 billion), Apple’s strategy of routing its sales outside of the U.S. has certainly paid off.

Apple’s use of favorable Irish tax laws has caused problems in the past. Most notably, it caused the EU to hand Apple a massive $16 billion tax bill in 2016. The bill alleged that Apple took advantage of illegal state aid that allowed it to route profits through Ireland. Apple reportedly paid the equivalent of as little as 0.005 percent on all European profits in 2014.

Ireland quickly stepped up to defend its relationship with Apple. This even led to the European Court of Justice taking action against Ireland in October 2017. Fortunately this was eventually dropped when Apple agreed to pay up.

Apple’s history in Ireland

Apple first opened its office in Cork, Ireland in November 1980, shortly after the release of the Apple II. At the time, the site had just 60 employees. Today, Apple has thousands of employees in the country.

While much of its presence in Ireland is for clerical reasons, it does do some limited manufacturing there. Apple is Cork’s largest private employer, which is the home to Apple’s only wholly owned manufacturing facility in the world. It builds “made-to-order” iMacs for customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Last year, Tim Cook visited Ireland to open a new office there.

Apple and Ireland haven’t always been in lockstep, though. Endless delays caused Apple to ditch its plans for a giant data center in County Galway in 2018. Criticisms from locals had included the amount of power the data center would require, as well as its potential impact on local bats and badgers, protected species that live in the nearby forest.

Apple isn’t the only tech giant to be among Ireland’s top companies. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others all have offices there.

Via: Business World

This article was originally posted here