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Thứ Sáu, 20 tháng 9, 2013

Spotlight back on Irish tax as SAP saves €100m here - Irish Independent

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German firm SAP provides software for transactions



The news wire, which has broken many influential stories on global tax avoidance and sparked probes in the UK, claimed that while Ireland accounted for less than 1pc of SAP's sales, it is the home base for 20pc of its profits.


The revelations will heap yet further pressure on the Irish Government amid a European probe into how Ireland levies taxes.


And it also means that the controversy surrounding the State's tax regime does not simply encompass US companies.


SAP, which is headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, provides software for businesses to process and analyse transactions and is the fourth largest firm in Germany.


The company told Reuters that profits reported in Ireland reflected genuine economic activity and that the structure was driven by operational rather than tax motives.


It comes about a week after it emerged that the European Competition Commission (ECC) has launched an informal information-gathering probe to find out how taxes are being levied on companies in Ireland.


The Netherlands and Luxembourg are also under scrutiny.


The probe follows controversy in the United States, Britain, Germany and France about the level of taxes charged on US companies with operations in Ireland, with high-profile international giants such as Apple, Google and Starbucks all involved.


If any evidence of abuse emerges from the initial European probe, a full investigation will be launched by Europe, although it is not known when this initial investigation will be completed.


Much of the debate around corporate tax over the past year has focused on US companies, but the revelations about SAP shows that companies much closer to home are also using similar techniques to legally reduce their tax liabilities.


LEGALLY


Reuters says that SAP's customers and programmers are legally based in the US, Canada, France, Japan, the UK and Germany.


The news wire also made reference to SAP's acquisition of French software company Business Objects in 2008.


Business Objects' Irish operation gave SAP a low-tax home for its intellectual property which could then charge other parts of the group for the right to use the software, thereby shifting profits to Dublin, Reuters said.


Attempts to contact SAP yesterday proved unsuccessful.


Irish Independent



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