DUBLIN May 29 Ireland is increasing its
capacity to track how multinationals shift resources around the
world using transfer pricing amid criticism about the country's
role in tax avoidance.
Days after a U.S. Senate committee said Apple
funnelled tens of billions of dollars of profit through Ireland
to avoid taxes, the tax office said it was looking to boost the
number of company databases it uses to monitor transfer pricing.
It also advertised for new staff to raise its capacity in
several areas, including transfer pricing.
Transfer pricing, by which multinationals control the value
at which products, services or assets are traded between units
across borders, can be used to shift income between
jurisdictions and is sometimes used by firms to minimise their
Asked if the measures were related to charges by U.S.
lawmakers that Ireland was a tax haven for Apple, allowing it to
pay an effective tax rate of less than 2 percent, a spokeswoman
for the Irish tax service declined to comment on Wednesday.
She pointed instead to an increase in workload related to
tax submissions under new transfer pricing laws.
A 2010 law brought Ireland into line with most of its
trading partners by introducing a formal regime requiring
companies' intra-group transfer prices to be similar to those
that would be charged to independent entities.
The first deadline for corporate tax submissions under the
new rules was September 2012.
Arrangements already in place when the law was passed were
exempt and lawyers have said the new rules said were unlikely to
cause significant problems for multinational firms.
The government has said that it cannot be held responsible
for the amount of tax Apple pays globally and that action to
curb aggressive tax planning should be taken by international
organisations rather than at a national level.