Shamrock shake: Pfizer's Irish "unpatriotic loophole" ducks US taxes


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Alas, it won’t even result in that much more tax income for Ireland either. But for the EU the move comes at a time when tax havens are already being targeted by the larger member states. Germany and France have gotten tired of companies pretending to be based in Luxembourg for tax purposes, but in reality having little more than a post office box there. The fact that the current president, Jean Claude Juncker, helped Luxembourg become a tax haven doesn’t help perceptions in the press either.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out, though.


Allergan aren’t Irish either, they’re as American as Pfizer. They’ve pulled this before. Back in their history of mergers there’s an Irish company called Galen somewhere, but I don’t think they’re very much of the business.

Best I can tell:

Allergan are really Actavis (who are really Watson). After Watson bought Actavis, ‘Actavis’ bought Warner Chilcott (who were really Galen - an NI company), and moved their global HQ to Dublin, although they’re really based out of NJ.


Apple also used Ireland as a tax evasion technique in the EU.

How many corporations have to do this before we close these types of “loopholes”?
I wish I could say I was hopeful, but with all our politicians being bought and paid for by large corporate interests, I don’t have much hope unless Bernie Sanders is elected.


More evidence that corporations and their plutocratic overlords have become more powerful than countries and their politicians. American companies have stopped paying any heartfelt allegiance to America (let alone its workers) for quite a while now.


Hooray for globalization!


Quick question to the Boingboing hive:

Now, Pfizer can’t bring overseas earnings into the US without paying taxes on it. In the future, the headquarters will be located in Ireland, how will it bring in overseas money to the US without paying taxes on it? What exactly changes?


… Just like Google and Apple and Facebook and Mitt Romney and the list goes on and on.

Why are you reporting this like it’s a new trick that Pfizer just invented?


By lobbying heavily, and waiting for a Republican/Clinton to come to power who will rubber stamp a deal to let them ‘repatriate’ that money at a tiny rate.


Just out of curiosity, how much of this kind of shenanigan is enshrined int the TPP and other trade deals so that the US (and others) CAN’T prevent this if those deals pass?


afaik Luxembourg does not allow constructs like the double Irish (perfected with the Dutch sandwich), specially designed to lower taxes for intellectual properties. Luxembourg has the advantage of a generally low level for corporate taxes, sometimes combined with special agreements - but I think this is more worthwhile for corps selling goods (Amazon) and less for companies using license fees to move profits between subsidiaries (Apple or the pharmas mentioned here).


Because it’s such an enormous, blatant example? And because it’s also a blatant example of how “health care” has become a giant business, with no actual interest in the health of ordinary people?


Again and again, you see that contemporary business practices have their origins in that most pioneering of business entities: The Mafia, who invented tax havens.


They’re just doing their fiduciary duty.


I generally agree with you and all, but for the Devil’s Advocate reply: How is this an example of healthcare being a business that doesn’t care about the health of ordinary people? Couldn’t it be true that pharmaceuticals are profit-oriented and also care about the health of ordinary people? Presumably, some portion of the money saved in tax loopholes will be used for R&D for future medicines. I don’t see how those two lines of reasoning logically intersect.


Apple at least has a long history of manufacturing in Ireland, going back to the mid-80s. Most of that has shifted to Asia now, but according to Business Insider they still employed 4,000 people there as of 2013. That’s not a great excuse, but it’s better than calling a post office box “headquarters.”


This is one example of how the free market works. How do you like it so far?


Meh. Eventually everyone will have corporate headquarters in some 3rd world shit hole that doesn’t have a legitimate government, much less taxes.


You sound like you’ve forgotten a lot of the recent news about this topic. Perhaps I can interest you in a $35,000 per year treatment of Memoral? Perhaps you should ask your doctor if Memoral is right for you. Don’t worry about the possibility of gas and erectile dysfunction. We have somewhat less expensive medications for those problems too.


I believe most of their operations are already here, i.e., most of their cash will already be in the US. There will be no need to repatriate those earnings.