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MEPs quiz execs from Google, Apple, McDonalds and Ikea over taxes

EXECUTIVES representing some of the world’s largest companies defended their firm’s tax positions in Brussels as tax authorities continue their pursuit against corporation tax avoiders.

At a European Parliament hearing on Tuesday, executives from Google, Apple, McDonalds and Ikea discussed their tax practices with MEPs.

Cathy Kearney, Apple vice president for operations, who is based in Cork, vehemently defended the Silicon Valley firm’s tax practices.

“We’ve paid every cent of tax that’s due in Ireland. We don’t feel that there has been state aid involved, and we look forward to that outcome happening at the end of the day and being vindicated in that view.

“We pay most of our taxes in the US. We pay tax in the local subsidiaries in full compliance with the tax law in those subsidiaries. We pay deferred tax income, and our income that is not taxed in Europe is subject to US tax,’ continued Kearney.

“In terms of this point of whether we are paying a tiny fraction of what other companies are paying, that’s absolutely incorrect,” said Adam Cohen, Google’s head of economic affairs in Europe. “We are absolutely in line with what other multinational companies are paying.”

Google have come under increasing pressure to change the way they pay European taxes, particularly after announcing a £130m deal with HMRC over unpaid corporation tax.

In January, the EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager opened the door to a potential investigation into Google’s tax dealings should someone come forward and make a complaint.

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