Sachs wants ¤13bn of disputed Apple taxes to be spent on world’s poor
The Government should use the ¤13 billion in disputed taxes from technology giant Apple to meet its commitment to overseas aid for the world’s poor, leading US economist Jeffrey Sachs has said.
The special adviser to the United Nations secretary general urged the Government to drop its appeal against the European Commission ruling that Apple received unfair tax incentives from the State.
Part of the money could be used to fulfil the Republic’s long-held pledge to commit 0.7 per cent of gross national income to overseas development aid and “another part could be used for helping Ireland’s poor”, he said.
“Take the money. This is a tax revenue from one of the most successful companies in history. They have plenty of profits. Take it, use it,” he told The Irish Times after speaking at the Institute for International and European Affairs, the think tank.
Mr Sachs said he supported a digital tax on global technology companies, criticising “corporate influence” on tax policy and “the logic of tax competition” as “pervasive”.
“Ireland was part of that story,” he said. “Ireland was used as a transit hub for what I believe was tantamount to large-scale tax evasion, legal perhaps, but really stretching the system very, very badly.”
He acknowledged the Government had moved to close down “some of the most abusive practices” but said there was “still a long way to go” to create a fair international system that collects more rather than less. “These companies are very rich, very profitable; they should be paying more in tax and be forced to be more transparent about the nature of their global operations and how this profit is taxed and how the taxes are shared among the countries where these companies operate,” said the Columbia University professor.
Mr Sachs condemned US president Donald Trump’s tariffs and trade war with China as “dangerous and reckless”, marking the worst instances of “blatant unilateralist protectionism” since the US tariffs of early 1930s that exacerbated the Great Depression.
He urged Europe to join with China and Russia to demand an end to Mr Trump’s unilateralism in trade.
“Trump is completely irresponsible in what he is doing and the rest of the world should tell him: this is totally unacceptable and if you have complaints go to WTO [World Trade Organisation],” he said.
Leading US economist Jeffrey Sachs: urged Government to drop its appeal