U2 have a new album out next Tuesday, but the band is caught up in a tax scandal in Ireland after it was revealed that the band has most of its money in bank accounts in the Netherlands, instead of their native Ireland, which has higher taxes. Here’s a snippet from Yahoo News UK:
The band moved the company U2 Ltd, set up to deal with royalty payments, to a finance house in Holland in 2006 after the Irish Government scrapped an artist income tax exemption scheme. The new limit was capped at 250,000 euros (£223,000).
The Debt and Development Coalition Ireland’s Nessa Ni Chasaide said: “We wanted to raise our concern that while Bono has championed the cause of fighting poverty and injustice in the impoverished world, the fact is that his band has moved part of its business to a tax shelter in the Netherlands.”
She added: “Tax avoidance and tax evasion costs the impoverished world at least $160 million (£142.5m) every year. This is money urgently required to bring people out of poverty.
Andy Storey from justice group Afri said tax is a fundamental question of global justice.
He said: “Lost taxes in impoverished countries far outweigh what they receive from rich countries in aid. There are trillions of dollars stashed in tax havens. If that money was taxed in the countries where it was earned, governments would have their own resources to improve the lives of their people.”
It should be noted that a lot of bands on U2’s plateau do the same thing (the Rolling Stones actually had to live outside of England for a few years in the 70s to avoid high taxes). It’s also outlandish to claim that Bono and company are hurting the developing world by trying to avoid high taxes, but I guess when you make your name on trying to help the Third World, and then you’re outed as hiding money offshore, you’re susceptible to this kind of thing.
U2 haven’t released a band statement, but the band’s manager, Paul McGuinness responded to the reports in the Belfast Telegraph, saying the band complies with tax law, and since most of their money is made outside of Ireland, most of their money isn’t kept in Irish banks.
On the eve of their new album launch, the band’s manager, Paul McGuinness, last night rejected accusations of hypocrisy and said Bono, Larry Mullen, Adam Clayton and the Edge were all “personal investors and employers” in Ireland.
Addressing the issue of their tax affairs for the first time, Mr McGuinness said much of U2 paid different taxes in different countries.
But Mr McGuinness last night insisted the band is “fully compliant” with Irish tax legislation. “U2 is a global business and it pays taxes globally,” he said.
“At least 95pc of U2’s business—including record and ticket sales—takes place outside of Ireland and as a result the band pays many different kinds of taxes all over the world.
“They continue to remain Ireland-based and are personal investors and employers in the country.
“Like any other business, U2 operates in a tax-efficient manner.”
So there you have it. U2 are tax-efficient. Most of this seems like UK media sensationalism, and it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that U2 have money in the Netherlands. Maybe it hurts your image of Bono as a savior of the world, but the dude is, after all, just a singer and a businessman. [via Daily Swarm]