Apple’s ‘shocking’ Jersey tax move criticised by MP
APPLE’S tax arrangements in Jersey – which were publicised by the Paradise Papers data leak – have been described as ‘really shocking behaviour’ by a Conservative MP.
The remarks come as US media commentators have criticised the tech giant for using the Island in tax planning schemes aiming to protect £250 billion of wealth kept offshore.
It was revealed earlier this month by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that Apple moved two companies to Jersey as part of a tax planning exercise, after a loophole was closed in Ireland.
During a House of Commons debate on tax avoidance, Nigel Mills, the Tory MP for Amber Valley, called for greater transparency in the UK’s overseas territories, accusing them of hiding ‘stolen money’.
‘The [Paradise] papers revealed some really shocking behaviour,’ he said.
‘For example, when Apple, one of the world’s largest and most reputable companies, was being chased by the EU through Ireland, it chose to try to move its affairs to Jersey to avoid the tax we all think it owes.
‘Again, that shows why we need to get transparency into those territories of ours so that we know who is operating there and where their money has actually come from.
‘Those territories have a right to exist, a right to choose their own tax rates and a right to be competitive, but they do not have a right to hide money that has been stolen from elsewhere in the world or to move profits that are not being earned there and try to give them a beneficial rate.’
During the same debate, however, Mr Mills’s colleague in the Conservative party, David Morris MP, defended offshore companies, pointing out that many were set up with guidance from the UK tax authorities.
‘The reality is that offshore companies are legal entities, and a lot of them, especially across the Commonwealth countries and the overseas territories, have been set up using HMRC guidelines,’ he said.
He added that holding a debate on the matter was ‘confusing’ for the public.
Meanwhile, Apple’s dealings in Jersey were the topic of discussion between film-maker Michael Moore and comedian Bill Maher on the latter’s popular political chat TV show Real Time.
Mr Maher, an arch-critic of Donald Trump, criticised Apple for moving money to the Island during a discussion of the US President’s plans to cut income tax deductions for American workers.
He said: ‘Tim Cook [chief executive] of Apple angrily told Congress last year: “We pay all the taxes we owe. We pay every single dollar and don’t stash money in some Caribbean island.’’
‘No – they stashed it in an island in the English Channel. They had it in Ireland, and then they changed the law, and they moved it to Jersey. Not Snooki’s [New] Jersey – Jersey the island.’
He added: ‘It’s $250 billion and they’re worried about it and that’s why they are taking away your [US citizens’] mortgage deductions.’
Yacht drifting in mid-Atlantic with no one on board identified thanks to Jersey and French coastguards and a plucky container ship captain