A major reason for Apple’s Irish presence is that it enables the company to keep profits there and defer taxation in the U.S. Citigroup estimates that Apple has about $214.9 billion kept in offshore accounts. Ireland offered Apple a very low tax rate (less than 2%) as a way to lure the tech giant to invest there. The European Commission is about to issue a ruling on whether Apple’s arrangement with Ireland constitutes “illegal state aid.”
Apple’s Tim Cook has repeatedly insisted that his company pays its fair share of taxes and is breaking no laws by refusing to “repatriate” the earnings it keeps in Ireland. Cook says that if his company were to bring the profits home now, they would be taxed at a rate of roughly 40%.