What is globalisation about? It’s about rich companies bilking the world’s governments of the taxes they should be paying.
It’s not just Enron anymore. Both Microsoft and Google have been exploiting loopholes in Irish tax law and the US – Irish tax treaties to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.
An effect of the arrangement is that Google Ireland, the operating company, made an after-tax profit of only €2.74 million on a turnover of €603 million. It had operating expenses of €359 million which are understood to include the royalty payments to the other Irish company. Google Ireland paid Irish corporation tax of €1.6 million.
Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal reported that an Irish subsidiary of Microsoft was helping it reduce its tax bill by at least $500 million annually. The hitherto unknown subsidiary, Round Island One Ltd, made an after-tax profit of $3.8 billion in 2004, and paid $324 million in Irish corporate tax.
Of course is the US government is wasting hundreds of billions on a useless, murderous and illegal war, who the hell wants to pay taxes? It’s not as if the taxes were going to make the world a better place or to alleviate domestic poverty.
So thank you Google, thank you Bill Gates for not paying your taxes this year.