The latest example of the huge savings achieved by large corporations thanks to tax havens is Microsoft. According to a newspaper information The GuardianThe Irish subsidiary of the telecommunications company, called Microsoft Round Island One, did not pay a single euro in taxes last year, despite reporting a profit of 314.7 billion dollars (260 billion euros). The firm, which collects the copyright generated by the licenses for the use of software from Microsoft around the world, would have avoided the payment thanks to the fact that it located its tax residence in Bermuda.
The Irish subsidiary has no employees, only has directors, and distributed to its parent, Microsoft Corporation, 55,000 million dollars (about 45,400 million euros) in dividends divided into two payments. The quantitative leap that it took in the last fiscal year has been spectacular, given that the previous year declared much lower profits, of 10 billion dollars (about 8,250 million euros).
According to the English newspaper, in the tax return the company appears registered in the Matheson law firm office, in the center of Dublin, and in this document it justifies the absence of any payment: “As the company is a tax resident in the Bermuda, no income tax is charged. “
The local newspaper Irish Times, which published the huge profit attributed to Microsoft’s Irish subsidiary last month, indicates that it comes from the surpluses and assets received from two liquidated subsidiaries, Microsoft Luxembourg USA Mobile Sarl and MACS Holdings Ltd.
Tax engineering maneuvers by multinationals to save on their tax bill are not unusual, but in this case, the huge tax-free sum, equivalent to 75% of Ireland’s GDP, puts pressure on large corporations in the midst of debate over the implementation of a global corporate tax of a minimum of 15%, promoted by the Administration of the president of the United States, Joe Biden.
Ireland, the country that has served as a springboard for these Microsoft operations to avoid paying taxes, is one of the strongest opponents of this new regulation on a planetary scale. Its corporate tax is 12.5%, the lowest in the EU together with that of Cyprus, which allows it to become a pole of attraction for companies that do not want to deal with the treasury. In the past, Dublin has been a fierce defender of its system, even though it deprives the Treasuries of other countries of tax revenue. In one of the most notorious cases, for years he sued in court so that Apple would not have to return the 13,000 million euros to which the European Commission forced him by the tax pacts between Dublin and the iPhone company. Finally, the European justice agreed, and Apple did not have to pay those 13,000 million to Ireland despite the fact that according to Brussels it benefited from agreements under very advantageous conditions: the company only paid 1% in 2003 and that effective rate was down to 0.005% in 2004.