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Facebook Finds Grass Greener In Ireland

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the o'tax-break dept.

The Almighty Buck 287

theodp writes "Facebook announced it has chosen tax-haven Dublin for its international HQ, but not all are buying COO Sheryl Sandberg's line about local world-class talent being the motivation behind the move. The Irish Times recently reported that Irish subsidiaries owned by US multinationals are opting to convert to unlimited liability status, concealing the financial performance of their Irish operations from public view. They include Microsoft's incredibly profitable Irish subsidiaries Round Island One and Flat Island Company, Google Ireland Holdings, and a subsidiary of Apple Computer. The conversions have occurred as US tax authorities have increased their scrutiny of international mechanisms used by American multinationals to reduce their taxes at home."

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the US tax code (5, Insightful)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246125)

is a politician's wet dream of byzantine unfairness and vote buying

Re:the US tax code (4, Insightful)

GlobalColding (1239712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246407)

The whole tax and governing apparatus is rotten to the core. Money gets wasted without adequate oversight or explanation where it goes. We, the people, are getting shafted and gamed by the people who are supposedly on our payroll. This evolutionary path leads to people learning how to game the people in charge. You can no longer say that "the house always wins"...

Re:the US tax code (3, Funny)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246453)

Have you ever tried taking a piece of turkey away from a kitten?

Ummm I think I am missing the analogy... (3, Funny)

GlobalColding (1239712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246513)

Sorry, thats what you get from a mind polluted by LOLCATS.

Re:Ummm I think I am missing the analogy... (1)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246549)

growling, scratching....ahh fuggedaboutit.

I was thinking more in terms of LOLCATS (2, Funny)

GlobalColding (1239712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246599)

Joo Wantz Mah Turkee? Joo am teh fuxx0red!

Re:I was thinking more in terms of LOLCATS (0)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246645)

Off parent topic... This was just terrible. [lolcats.com]

Re:Ummm I think I am missing the analogy... (-1, Offtopic)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246781)

Memez are in our mindz, pollutin our lawyerin.

Re:the US tax code (5, Funny)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246507)

> You can no longer say that "the house always wins"...

You're right. Sometimes it's the Senate.

Re:the US tax code (3, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246945)

They aren't moving their palo alto headquarters, they are creating a new one for europe, middle east, and africa.

Facebookâ(TM)s Dublin headquarters will house the social networking websiteâ(TM)s technical, sales and operations staff. The move is expected to create about 70 jobs and will not affect the websiteâ(TM)s existing London base, which is a commercial, rather than operational, office. Staff in Dublin will cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while the rest of the world is covered from Facebookâ(TM)s global headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article4870354.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Local world-class FINANCIAL talent (2, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246163)

The "talent" in question is that able to secure local subsidies and bribe^Wincentivise the local politicians.

There's a reason Microsoft, Dell and so on have their European bases in Ireland.

Thankfully they aren't big on local talent for the Facebook movie. [today.com]

Re:Local world-class FINANCIAL talent (5, Insightful)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247153)

So, Ireland is smarter than us in how they go about attracting corporate dollars... ... and you fault THEM for it?

Maybe if we were a little more competitive companies wouldn't bother fleeing there. Just a thought.

Re:Local world-class FINANCIAL talent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25247199)

at least one guy showed up for the premier:

http://www.gubuwire.com/?p=1217

ireland's politicains are rotten to the core, they gave 500bn worth of natural gas away to shell for free, and this week socialised the lossess of 6 banks to the tune of 400bn, those combined ate more than the contravercal US bailout plan, pure corruption

I guess they need to save money while they can (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246199)

Because IMO Facebook is just another fad and will go the same way as Friends Reunited when something new and shinier comes along or the novelty wears off. Very few trendy websites stay trendy for more than a few years - its only the interesting ones that survive and theres a limit to how much aquaintances boring lives and silly little games can keep you interested over a long period of time.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (5, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246231)

Viol8, you've been bitten by a zombie!
Click here to transfer all your private information to a untrusted 3rd party.

As the saying goes... (1)

GlobalColding (1239712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246443)

Its so popular, nobody goes there any more.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246661)

At the rate that Facebook is adding new features, games, and dozens of new ways to communicate, users will soon realize that there are simpler ways to communicate. You know, like dialing a phone number.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25246973)

Argh! Get off my lawn!

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (5, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246715)

Plus, Facebook has (at least) one fundamental flaw: it assumes you WANT everyone who you're "friends" with to indiscriminately know about everyone ELSE you're "friends" with. It ignores the fact that you don't necessarily WANT your kid brother (or coworkers, or parents) reading about your wild weekend (or at least not the full details you'd share with your best and closest friends).

What's needed is a social networking site with a concept of groups as containers for acquaintances and other groups, applying permissions in the order of default-deny, groups with permission, groups denied, individuals permitted, individuals denied. THEN, when you post something, you'd be able to specify its visibility scope across those groups... possibly, even creating fake or munged entries for some groups to see in lieu of "real" entries, and NO way for acquaintances to discern which group(s) they're in, or even which groups exist at all.

Then, you could create a safe, bland (semi-)public page for (almost) everyone to see, but let the appropriate acquaintances see things appropriate to their relationship with you... and possibly even maintain one or more "parallel universes" that completely override each other for people with two or more groups of friends that should (ideally) NEVER encounter each other (parents and drinking buddies being an obvious example). Ideally, you could even set up one or more "duress" passwords that logged you in as an admin for your profile with access to only a subset of your real one, in case someone like a girlfriend or family member coerced you into logging in with them present to "prove" something. By allowing an unlimited number of duress passwords with unlimited groups and parallel universes, you'd effectively achieve plausible deniability... nobody could ever force you to reveal things, because they could never know for sure whether you were logged in with a duress password or your real one.

The sad thing is, a feature like THIS would be the perfect way to monetize something like Facebook... keeping the current model free, but charging monthly or annual fees to add more sophisticated group management and/or depth.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246815)

Plus, Facebook has (at least) one fundamental flaw: it assumes you WANT everyone who you're "friends" with to indiscriminately know about everyone ELSE you're "friends" with. It ignores the fact that you don't necessarily WANT your kid brother (or coworkers, or parents) reading about your wild weekend (or at least not the full details you'd share with your best and closest friends).

Also introduced to us by Seinfeld as the "worlds colliding" theory of social interaction.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246897)

Or... you can keep your wild weekend stories off your Facebook page altogether.

Or you could not use Facebook.

What you're proposing would be a world of confusion for most users -- having to adjust permissions of each and every bit of information you post? Just try explaining Unix-ish file permissions to someone (even some IT types) and it's bad enough. Your suggestion would inevitably lead to showing the wrong thing to the wrong person right off the bat due to the learning curve.

It kind of sounds like you want to live the life of a double-agent, hiding information from certain people in your lives. You may have bigger problems.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247111)

Unix file permissions would be a lot easier without "write" and "execute", neither of which are really relevant here, so we're down to read. Also there's nothing strange like "execute on a directory means you're able to enter that directory". Finally, we can leave users out of the permissions entirely, and it's down to groups, of which most people can do great with 3 ("personal", "family" and "work") and the implied "self" with full access. A folder-dropping analogy would work, and at the early stages of the learning curve, even if they make the worst mistakes possible, it'd be the same as facebook today.

I think the problem is that it will make your "work" people curious as hell about what's in the other folders and vice-versa. I don't know if that's a flaw though.

The problem with wild weekend stories, is that it only takes one person photographing you, and someone tagging that photo, to share your story. Even if you're not on facebook.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25246951)

Depends on your view. If you're a stalker, that's not a flaw.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (5, Insightful)

edmicman (830206) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246989)

They already have something like this. It's called the Internet. I can have my group of Facebook friends, my self-hosted blog where people know it's me, my self-hosted blog at a different registered domain under a pseudonym where I can post my propaganda, my Flickr stream, my Google Groups persona, my Slashdot persona, and my personas at any number of other forums/communities.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246919)

Friends Reutd had two things against it: 1. All you could do is the find friends thing, nothing akin to Scrabulous and its ilk, and b) they charged you five pounds to get full use of the service - inc. the ability to contact people, a bit of a deal-breaker on a social networking site (as it wasn't called then). The two are really not comparable.

Re:I guess they need to save money while they can (2, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247049)

Facebook is actually a well-designed/developed site, and a particularly useful one in its original niche. college students, especially incoming freshmen, gravitated to the site because it allowed them to stay in touch with all of their friends from high school who are now off to different universities, and it was also different from other social networks in that it had highly organized and usefully structured profiles which aren't cluttered by pictures, clashing colors, and annoying videos or music the way that Myspace profiles are.

facebook also organizes users by their schools, thus making the social network more useful as a practical networking tool. it's very useful for organizing student groups/events, or just making new friends (and not just online ones). out of all the social networking sites that have popped up in recent years, facebook is probably the least appropriate to use the word "trendy" on. and it's not likely to die any time soon, because it's actually a very ingeniously designed site.

MySpace, Xanga, Friendster, etc. were the trend-driven social networking sites. they weren't created around usefulness or original functionality. the fact that MySpace has not only remained, but grown into one of the most popular sites on the web shows that your prediction about "trendy" sites does not hold any water. Myspace is horribly designed, buggy, hideous, and filled with angst-ridden teenagers and illiterate retards, but its become such a cultural fixture that it's permanence is practically guaranteed.

all of the early social networking boom sites have died out so that the ones that remain will probably be here for a while. so your "* is just another fad" comment is about 4 years too late. saying it to demonstrate your non-conformity (or to show that you're above fads & fashions) is ignoring the reality staring you in the face.

It's not the taxes or the talent (5, Funny)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246207)

It's the Guinness. Just tastes better the closer you are to St. James's Gate.

Re:It's not the taxes or the talent (3, Insightful)

cavtroop (859432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246325)

Rated funny? This is one of the most serious posts I have ever read on /.

Re:It's not the taxes or the talent (1)

SBacks (1286786) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246961)

Rated funny? This is one of the most serious posts I have ever read on /.

Funny != Silly

Re:It's not the taxes or the talent (0, Offtopic)

PetriBORG (518266) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246455)

FDA staff reviewers expressed concern about the number of patients who were left out of the study because they died.

It sounds pretty funny, but its exactly true - the FDA does worry about patients that are removed from a study because they died - if someone is enrolled into a drug/device study and those people die, the why they died is very important and is one way companies try to hide failure of their product. You'd be very upset if their failure rate was actually 10% instead of 5% which would have prevented them from becoming an approved device for use in hospitals and drug stores.

Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (2, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246233)

So our country goes farther in the hole every day and big companies skip out overseas to avoid paying taxes here. You don't have to be a financial expert to know that just ain't right.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (4, Insightful)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246271)

The solution to the US going further in the hole every day isn't more taxes, it's to stop pissing away money like $700 billion is pocket change.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (4, Informative)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246383)

In fairness, the $700 billion may be a cure for the billions that were pissed away before, but it is hard to tell these days.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (5, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246571)

Don't you know, it's important for the economy to pass it as quickly as possible. Not because the economy would stop, but because a 2 day delay meant 400+ pages of unrelated pork and complications to the tax code.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247073)

At least it gives your Congress something to do....

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (4, Insightful)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246623)

The middle-class need tax relief. So let's tax the big companies they all work for much more heavily.

This will surely help the middle-class employees of these large greedy companies. In order to remain competitive in this global economy these large companies must move out of the USA because the taxes are so burdensome here.

Thanks Obama! That really helped a lot!

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (2, Insightful)

JohnHegarty (453016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246631)

except the Irish government guaranteed the Irish banks for $550 billion on Monday

not spending (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246775)

Borrowing money and then moving the money from one account to another and then buying investments with it is not "spending". Investments either go up or down or they mature and pay out in full or they're defaulted on. That leaves either more or less money in the account.

It's not "spending". It's not "pissed away" either unless all the investments are defaulted on and assume a zero value.

This is just a clarification from the rational world. Feel free to ignore it. People who are "outraged" and have bumper-sticker wisdom don't need facts or rationality. It just slows them down.

Re:not spending (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247067)

Money is leaving the government and entering the private sector. How is that not spending?

Re:not spending (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247145)

Money is leaving the government and entering the private sector. How is that not spending?

#1 it's borrowed from the private sector to start with
#2 lending is not spending. If I put money in a bank, I have lent that money to a bank. It has "left" me and the bank has it now. Is it "spent"? No. Buying investment securities is simply a more complicated version of this.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (4, Insightful)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246291)

Hey, you guys all but invented "letting the market decide", so if you're not the most attractive country in which to pay tax, surely you'll be redressing that through competition, not regulation?!

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (4, Informative)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246415)

Adam Smith was a Scot, not an Irishman.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25246313)

Our companies would stay in the United States if it weren't for the oppressive tax laws. It's getting so bad that we're bound to have another Boston Tea Party, remember that one? Think about who's raising taxes next time you vote, we can't afford to continue driving business out of the U.S.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246403)

You don't have to be a financial expert to know that just ain't right.

A corporation has a duty to its shareholders to increase their equity. If they can save money by relocating, it's entirely appropriate for them to do so.

You might want to ask why the USA has such high corporate tax rates.

-jcr

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247305)

You might want to ask why the USA has such high corporate tax rates.

Gotta tax someone to pay for the war effort!

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (1, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246411)

People who are lucky should hold out a helping hand to people who are less lucky.

I think you mean: "The government should steal from people who are lucky and redistribute to people who are less lucky."

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25246423)

On the other hand, it's just good business for companies to set-up operations in more stable economies.

Why would a company willingly tie their future to a demonstrably unstable economy (and, arguably, ineffective government leadership), when they can opt to operate in a country that is more stable and friendly to their business?

These kinds of moves are byproducts of the situation in the US. Yes, they will precipitate further problems... but you reap what you sow.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246435)

The way to fix this is customs duties and tariffs. Of course, trade is corrupt as hell and hidden deals are going to be made.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25246763)

Then Congress should be working towards a "cleaning" of these multi-BILLION dollar companies.

The public has been living like a bunch of zombies while Congress and Businesses "steal" zillions of dollars from other countries, their own public, and a multitude of other places in the name of "capitalism". It is one thing to do business and make a profit, its another to make a bunch of deals which imbalances things, fubar the accounting papers, and/or steal outright from the company.

I bet if a full investigation were to be undertaken you'd find just about half of wall street is partaking in insider trading. Its near impossible to see who is doing it on the outside if they merely see something that comes across their desk that impacts a stock, especially if its during the good times. During downtimes you'd be able to see who is doing it as you'd see ppl jumping ship ahead of time.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246771)

How do you tax the internet???
Please there isn't really a good way to fix this. If you make the rules looser then you will keep getting Enron. If you tighten them up you get companies moving.
The same thing happened to manufacturing. Do you know how hard it is to get a new plating plant built in the US? Yes plating is a nasty dirty process and it is good to have rules to keep them clean but...
Or a Steel Mill?
Most cities tried very hard to get heavy industry out. They all want light clean industry.
Same thing is going to happen with corporations now. It will be hard to find the right mix of regulations and freedoms.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (1, Informative)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246575)

hey its you guys that are such big fans of the free market, It turns out that they're free to move to Ireland. The lower taxes you get in return must also be great for America as its such a big fan of small government too.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25246595)

I own a small US business (with payroll responsibilities). If you haven't set up and run a business in the US, you probably have little idea how onerous the taxes, laws and restrictions here are.

So before heaping blame on the corporations, please spend a little time examining just why there is an incentive for them to leave. Examine especially the laws regarding taxation on foreign income - and compare that with how other countries treat their corporations' foreign income.

And hard as it might be to believe, as an employee you see the pleasant side of the IRS.

Re:Avoiding US taxes by setting up overseas (2, Insightful)

colganc (581174) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246601)

It is their money. They earned it. Don't take it from them after they earned it. If you don't like how they earned it, change the rules for the next set of companies coming up. More likely your rules will prevent any new ones though.

What do you expect? (1, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246651)

What do you expect them to do? The taxes they pay outweigh the benefits that they receive. Taxes are simply a bad deal for them.

Did you notice when the gas price went up? The response from about 49% of the politicians was "we should punish the oil companies by raising their taxes". How does raising taxes on oil companies reduce the price of gas? Obviously, it does the opposite: raises the cost of producing gas, and raising the price the producers need to charge to make a profit. Did the media point this out? No.

Hatred and envy and greed are the motivating factor for tax policy (and a lot of other policies) for much or the electorate and their chosen representatives.

Why wouldn't a company want to move their operations out of the US? It's cheaper and it's further away from the people who hate them and want to punish them (and have the power to do it).

If half of the people at my office hated me, and if I could get a better job somewhere else, I'd leave. Companies decide similarly.

as if the US spends its tax money wisely (3, Insightful)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246255)

Ha! As if the US spends its tax money wisely! 900 billion here, 900 billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.

I asked my Representative to vote against the failout.

I think that the tax law changes started way back (3, Informative)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246281)

I think that the tax law changes started way back in the Clinton administration. If I remember correctly that Congress passed legislation to make it very difficult for people to move to lower tax rate jurisdictions and keep their money and at the same time made it easy for corporations to do so. This process of giving more rights and flexibility to corporations than to individuals continued full speed ahead during W. Bush's term.

I don't think that there can be much doubt (especially after this corporate giveaway bailout being voted on today) that most governments (including mine, the USA) have been totally subverted to corporate interests. The question is, I think, given this environment, how can we as individuals thrive most effectively? I have been blogging a lot about this lately, but I won't bore anyone here with links to that :-)

Re:I think that the tax law changes started way ba (3, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246671)

Sorry, but I need to correct you.

This round of change problems came around with Nixon, not with Clinton. Similar sounding name, but diff. When corporations began to be unaccountable and stop having to report things, a number of almost immediate changes took place. Not over months, but days. Noerr Pennington doctrine in 1972 is where they decided "it's legal to use money to influence political power". It's where "felony interference of a business model" came around. After that Reagan, Bush Sr, they all kept it going even worse.

Re:I think that the tax law changes started way ba (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246703)

Thanks for the correction Matt! My memory is updated :-)

I seriously hope the next president stops this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25246287)

They will need to end all these loopholes to pay down the insane deficit.

We're going to be in a full blown recession for at least a year, it's going to cost a fortune, yet the Fortune 500 are exporting all the jobs and now all the taxes.

Trickle down is now proven to not work, so get the taxes and redistribute what they refuse to do responsibly on their own.

Re:I seriously hope the next president stops this (2, Informative)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246685)

They will need to end all these loopholes to pay down the insane deficit.

Ahh, Ireland is a more recent example of what's been going on since the 70's. One of the totally legal tax scams no one cares to mention is when an American subsidiary of a conglomerate operates at a perpetual loss. American management uses the "operating loss" excuse to keep wage low. Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Acer, etc. They get to reap the rewards of participating in the most vibrant economy in the world for rock-bottom dollar.

The problem with tightening these rules is that the average international corporation pays tax consultants to figure out the lowest operating cost method. If the U.S. doesn't provide the lowest operating costs, then they just re-organize to different parts of the world. Those clever corporations would, for example, issue bonds under one corporation then use them to fund another subsidiary. The bond-issuing corporation "fails" bondholders and equity participants lose everything and the other subsidiary that got the money lives on. The finance world is using that scam right now to "fail" everything over to the Treasury.

It's the equivalent of tightening your grip with a palm full of sand. I don't know a good way to fix it that won't be gamed in a couple of months after the legislation goes into effect.

duh (4, Insightful)

einer (459199) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246307)

Corporations seek environments where they can generate the most profit. Get over it. America is quickly becoming a business unfriendly environment. Taxation, absurd regulations (for example, you CAN'T test 100% of your cattle for BSE no matter how much your customers want it, or how competative it will make you), insane legal exposure...

Welcome to the "service economy."

Re:duh (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246497)

Corporations seek environments where they can generate the most profit. Get over it.

Corporations are not a natural phenomenon; it's not like continental drift, something that we just have to accept. They are created by acts of government.

If the government is creating entities that engage in a "race to the bottom" in terms of exploitation of people and the environment, that's not something we need to "get over", that's something we need to change the government in order to prevent. Corporations should only be allowed to exist if and only if their existence is of long term benefit to the public, not just the short-term interest of the current stockholders.

Re:duh (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246679)

Corporations seek environments where they can generate the most profit. Get over it. America is quickly becoming a business unfriendly environment.

I don't really see how this relates to your previous sentence. Even if the USA had incredibly "friendly" tax laws, there would still be some small country/island who turned up and said "we'll do you one better! zero taxes!!"

An American company setting up its corporate structure overseas in order to dodge taxes is exactly the type of thing Biden was talking about in the debate yesterday.

Re:duh (0, Redundant)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246769)

One thing that I imagine can be agreed upon (?) is that despite Obama's protestations to the contrary, his plans will only increase this flow. Or do you think that corporations with business and arms around the world will want to stick around for higher tax rates and an administration that has relied on anti-corporate populism?

Re:duh (0, Flamebait)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247243)

So don't let the bastards do business here. There are plenty of smaller American companies that can't compete against the bigger, greedier, and better connected ones. Give a break to those companies willing to keep jobs here, tax the hell out of those that want to move overseas.

You move overseas, your products get taxed into oblivion. You stay here, you get benefits. The US is a huge market. More than enough companies will play ball. When they see that is how things are, and they can't bribe or whine their way out of it, they will do what we tell them to.

Re:duh (1)

rho (6063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247237)

There's a convenience factor as well. There aren't really that many big corporations who can afford all the overhead of an overseas incorporation. But if the difference between making a profit and not making a profit lies in incorporating overseas, you'll see more smaller corporations take advantage of it. You see this in Nevada/Delaware incorporations to a certain extent. Being incorporated in Delaware makes things a bit more complicated than if you incorporated in your State, but it's often worth it because some States have byzantine incorporation rules and requirements.

Make it simple, make it clear, make it reasonably complete. And then try hard to not get incensed when one or two big corporations make rapacious profits. The desire to fiddle in order to bring one or two companies back in line is one of the major reasons it's such a pain.

Re:duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25247069)

America is quickly becoming a business unfriendly environment.

America is the majority of the market for things like Facebook. Facebook needs America a whole lot more than America needs Facebook.

Re:duh (2)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247139)

It's much less interesting if you don't use hyperbole.

The FDA won't sell you the tests to test 100% of your cattle when they know the test is not effective on the cattle you're testing (as you are killing them before they are old enough for the test to work), as the only function of such a test is to gain a competitive advantage through false advertisement.

Corporate Haven (3, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246347)

...and they say there are no snakes in Ireland?
Where's St. Patrick when you really need him?

Re:Corporate Haven (2, Funny)

Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246431)

Wait...what!?! St. Patrick means more than a one day celebration to get stinking pissed with all your friends? Damn the misleading parade.

Re:Corporate Haven (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25246803)

Where's St. Patrick when you really need him?

Need him to what? Chase all the jobs out of Ireland?

OK lets cut the crap. (2, Interesting)

GlobalColding (1239712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246359)

How do we, the citizens get in on this? Offshore banking isn't illegal, neither is having an offshore company. Where does one start researching this information? Considerations are lack of transparency, lowest fees, internet accessability, and no insane initial deposits like in Switzerland. Come on folks, dish!

Re:OK lets cut the crap. (3, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246439)

Where does one start researching this information?

Pick up a copy of The Economist magazine, and check the small ads towards the back. Or, just google for "offshore banking".

-jcr

Re:OK lets cut the crap. (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246675)

You can form a corporation, which only pays taxes on PROFIT, whereas people pay taxes on GROSS INCOME (though they might call it "net income" what is deductible for you as a person is far less than what a company can deduct.)

If you read the Rich Dad/Poor Dad books, this is a key point - Your corporation should own everything. You use the corporation as s tool to acquire things and pay for them. You only give yourself a modest amount of income. As owner of the company, you get to call the shots on what is bought and how it is used. (Company cars, etc)

That is step 1, that you can do domestically. A key part of that is WHERE you incorporate. Nevada doesn't have a state income tax, so you only have to pay federal taxes (again, only on profit) and has some very private arrangements in terms of hiding who all is in the company. Very rarely do you ant to incorporate in your own state. (Though you will still be liable for taxes in any state you are registered as operating in - so look a the definition of "operating". Generally it requires an address in that state.)

The next step I think would be going to another country. I have to experience in that. It may or may not be worth the hassle. Maybe having your own domestic company will be 90% of for 10% of the hassle.

Hostile environment? (3, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246463)

Why should corporations want to stay in an environment becoming increasingly hostile? Public perception of many corporations (and certainly "the corporation") is justifiably dismal. The next president will no doubt raise business taxes. Doesn't it make sense to move to somewhere like Ireland? People make this same kind of decision all the time when deciding where to live.

One of the interesting things in these discussions is that so many people betray how utterly insular they are. The economy is global and it's easier than ever to move around the world and communicate around the world. The difference between Ireland and the US (or the US and China, India, Slovakia, Russia, etc ad infinitum) ain't what it was 50 years ago. American exceptionalism is commonly laughed at as something for fools and demagogues, yet everyone who rants about how corporations should be taxed higher and how corporations shouldn't be allowed to go overseas are betraying their own beliefs.

Re:Hostile environment? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247083)

American exceptionalism is commonly laughed at as something for fools and demagogues...

Because liking your country is bad when Americans do it but it's good for South Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Africans, Asians, Australians, and anyone else. But not Americans. Americans who like their country and are proud of American success are "fools". Right?

And is it completely irrational to suggest that since America's success has been exceptional, it might be because of some quality that's exceptional -- even if it's just exceptional luck? How foolish is it to draw an obvious conclusion from the available facts?

What is the non-exceptional thing that has led to America's exceptional success? Keep in mind the definition of exceptional [google.com] : "exceeding: far beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree". If everything in the US is "usual" and the same as everywhere else, then how can the results be different here?

Re:Hostile environment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25247205)

I think everyone is OK with corporations moving wherever they like; they should just have to pay import duties on all product and labor imported back into their "real" countries of origin.

For example, Microsoft should be paying import duties on every copy of Vista sold in the US, if most of their profits on said product are registered overseas..

They're not the only ones (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246471)

Half of the UK's choosing to move their finances over to Ireland because the government (up until this afternoon) was only guaranteeing to protect up to £35,000 of savings should their bank collapse whereas Ireland will guarantee 100%...

Re:They're not the only ones (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25246567)

But they make foreigners who apply wear those stupid "Kiss Me I'm Irish" t-shirts for a day before they are eligible.

Re:They're not the only ones (2, Informative)

vigour (846429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247219)

Half of the UK's choosing to move their finances over to Ireland because the government (up until this afternoon) was only guaranteeing to protect up to £35,000 of savings should their bank collapse whereas Ireland will guarantee 100%...

It's not quite as simple as that, the government has increased the savings protection from €20,000 to €100,000 for the 6 wholly Irish owned banks. This happened only a few days ago, and it is planned to last for 2 years. The biggest influence is on the banks liabilities, i.e. all it's deposits, commercial, retail (you and me) etc. According to the bankers, and the central bank, the bank's problem is with liquidity, not solvency. This means the banks need to attract deposits so they have short term funding. It also means they can borrow cheaper, and the hope is that banks can starting giving loans to each other again.

The government here don't want any of our banks to crash like in the states, the economy is already in a recession with the crash in the housing market (which was the governments fault in the first place). If one of the banks were to become insolvent it would cause serious problems here (one out of the six banks might have been close to insolvency).

The risk taken on by the government is huge, our national debt is just under €40bn, and the six banks owe €440 billion (but have €520 billion in assets). It equates to ~ €100,000 being potentially spent per person in Ireland, compared to ~ $2,000 per person in the US.

While Sarkozy is trying to convince European governments to have a pan-EU rescue plan (especially the German gov who are against such a system), there is a possibility more banks may fail, and after the worst performance of Irish banks on the stock market in history (shares dropped by as much as 36% on Monday) it scared the government into action.

Admittedly, it's not very competition-friendly to look after only Irish-owned banks, but there are supposed to be some discussions with the UK, Dutch and Belgian owned banks operating in Ireland to equalise the playing-field.

On another note, it's about time governments moved in to shake up these parts of the banking sector, where there hasn't been enough regulation, and this last year has shown what happens when we let the mystical, magical "market forces" to run rampant, governments have to step in to fix other peoples mistakes.

Disclaimer: I am not a supporter of the current Irish government, a lot of the current economic problems can be directly attributed to their pumping of the property and construction sector, along with the usual dose of mis-management and wastage, but I do agree with their move to support the Irish banking system in part.

No Patriotic duty (4, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246537)

In Gregory v. Helvering Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand was quoted as saying:

"Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands."
Gregory v. Helvering, 293 U.S. 465 (1935).

The fact is tax avoidance is a key part of keeping taxation in check. If it gets oppressive, you move. In this way, governments compete for taxpayers.

Re:No Patriotic duty (1)

Udigs (1072138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247063)

Wonderful citation. However, I don't see anything in there about moving to Ireland. And guess what? Back from when you cite that quote *no one* had the mobility to do such. People couldn't just hop on a plane and be in Ireland in 8 hours, so clearly that's not what they are talking about.

Guess what: When you live in a democracy you DO have a patriotic duty to not be a fair weather citizen. It's easy to run away. It's much harder to make things work.

Re:No Patriotic duty (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247265)

Well my family arrived here at Ellis Island in 1920. Another part of my family got here from Lithuania, prior to the Russian invasion. It seems the "land of opportunity" isn't #defined as USA, rather it is a variable. It was equal to USA for some time, then recently, it seems to have changed. Why is that? Its people people like you say "we're building something great, just endure for a while". I don't want what you're building, and I shall not be made to suffer you agenda. However, what you are building violates several constitutional principals. Since I'm here for the constitutional principals, I say you take your agenda to a place more amenable to your agenda.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
-C. S. Lewis

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.
-Thomas Jefferson

Re:No Patriotic duty (1)

Udigs (1072138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247363)

Great. Then go back to Russia. I hear things are really nice over there right now.

Re:No Patriotic duty (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25247099)

nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands

A couple of years ago I saw statistics for the number of UK tax payers who voluntarily payed more tax than they were required to, presumably because they thought the government was spending it so wisely.

There were 2.

What the left ISN'T asking... (3, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246621)

All I'm seeing is the "unpatriotic" banner being waved by the left in America, when they AREN'T asking, "Why are companies leaving America, and why do they have hard-to-touch bank accounts offshore?" Somewhere there's a BAD disconnect - that we could minimize what many banks are going through by doing something that would ENCOURAGE people keeping their money there rather than seeing large companies as something to tax and take from because they somehow "owe" it.

The left NEVER asks what is wrong with their system - they just ask what is wrong with everyone else. We need to ask, "what would it take for you to keep your money in America," rather than proclaiming from the rooftops that they're leaving and should be punished for it.

Re:What the left ISN'T asking... (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246947)

The problem is the left is well meaning and sincere. They want to create this However for me anyone to buy into it, they have to admit that the government knows best. This is a hard pill to swallow, since history has shown that the government doesn't know best. The government has been influenced by special interests, meaning now you have to trust the special interest groups. However the special interest groups only look out for themselves. So now you're leaving "what is best" to people who don't care what is best for you, they only care for themselves. In turn, this leads to you being manipulated by special interests so that they can extract every dollar they can from you.

American Dairy Association, American Dental Association... even AARP, all these "Associations" are special interest groups trying to sell you something.

The only thing you'll get out of trusting the government is how to be a good consumer. Unfortunately, that is neither providing security or true happiness. You have the responsibility to look out for yourself and your loved ones. Because no one other than yourself and your loved ones cares about you. Unless you're part of a statistic they can use.

Re:What the left ISN'T asking... (2, Interesting)

daigu (111684) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247221)

What the neoconservative right ISN'T asking is who bears the burden for paying the taxes and paying off the debt for wars like Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., maintaining the military in hundreds of bases around the world (the DoD is the world's largest single consumer of oil), and paying the higher costs associated with producing everything elsewhere and shipping it to the United States - otherwise known as the trade deficit.

Unfortunately, if you don't have sound fiscal policies and a sane foreign policy, there is nothing you can do attract people to stay because it leaves people with smaller and smaller pieces of pie and more people to share it with. It's the Law of the Jungle in action, and most conservatives don't understand the connection - despite all their talk of "free markets".

Re:What the left ISN'T asking... (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247355)

Sure, and all the countries that our companies are fleeing to (both for tax and cheap labor) are considered world leaders, with powerful economies, militaries, etc., etc., etc.

Fleeing to a third or second world country for tax breaks is what they do. Having a strong ecomony that doesn't require others to buy into it (like we are in now) doesn't come free.

Economy 101 dictates you need taxes. Something for nothing has been proven to pretty much, not work.

--Toll_Free

FairTax.org (2, Insightful)

jemminger (914046) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246681)

I'm sounding like a broken record. Once again, passing of the Fair Tax ( http://www.fairtax.org/ [fairtax.org] ) would fix this. Our current tax code punishes us as individuals and businesses for making money. The FairTax would turn the U.S. into the world's biggest tax haven, and businesses would be seeking to make the U.S. their home rather than fleeing it.

Re:FairTax.org (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247303)

No broken record, you converted me... I even wrote a paper for my english class on it (scored a D, but that's because I can't write research papers, not that of the FairTax).

See, what everyone seems to forget about the FairTax is that the purpose of money is to be spent. So what if BillG hordes his billions. Sooner or later his kids will inherit that and go on a spending spree. Implementing it will cause short-term pain, but if rolled into service over a period or 3 or 4 years, the impact should be A) measurable, and B) manageable.

And since we're in pain now, why not start?

The people get the government they deserve (2, Insightful)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246851)

When you want a government that regulates and taxes everything into submission, is it any surprise that business moves to places with fewer regulations and taxes? Good on Facebook: I hope more business moves away from the US, as that appears to be the only remaining hope for US citizens to demand smaller government.

It will yet become a center of top-notch talent. (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246863)

If all of these corporations keep setting up in Ireland, it will start attracting the needed talent. When the economy can no longer support all the tech companies in Seattle and California, those employees aren't just going to sit around. They'll go looking for new tech centers.
Ireland has the advantage that Guinness is locally made, so who wouldn't want to move there.

unfair taxes (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246879)

The US tax code double taxes companies by taxing them on income earned in other countries. We create an business unfriendly system and are surprised when companies leave?

No, It's Greed and Ethics (1)

Udigs (1072138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25246983)

The first one they have a lot of, and the second one they have none of.

Sure, a company is going to look for the best way to make the most profit. It's one thing to say that, but it's another thing to live in a world where everyone acts that way. I don't think it's a good thing for Americans if companies use our brain trust as a breeding ground and then ship jobs overseas. It's stupid, regardless of the taxes. So the taxes are too high? So what? Deal with it. Guess what? Those taxes pay for the peaceful conditions under which your company flourished and the more than 60 million American users who you monetize your site on.

Seeing a company BLEED the American taxbase like this makes me sick.

Note to Potential American Emigrants to Ireland: (2, Funny)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247127)

Shillelaghs, tweed caps, and green t-shirts with orange "I <heart> Ireland" printing are NOT cool.

Privacy/Safe harbor (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25247143)

If facebook is moving its operations to Ireland, doesn't this mean that it is no longer compliant (as if it ever was) under EU privacy laws?

Anonymous coward has no further details, so I suspect that this thread will fall the wayside of score 0.

Balancing act (2, Interesting)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247263)

This should just about balance out the tax lost when Bono "I'm all about supporting the little guy" NoLastName moved all of U2's holdings out of Ireland [google.ca]

OK, so what do you do? (0, Flamebait)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25247273)

Tax the FUCK out of them for doing business in our country.

Seriously, it's time to stop sucking the collective cocks of our own corporations that run to tax sheltered countries or territories.

Facebook. Based in Ireland, based in the US.

Tax the FUCK out of them, and anything from China as well. Wanna do bidneth here? I suggest you pay the proper taxes as well.

note, I am NOT one who normally advocates raising taxes (small business owner myself), but having major corporations that SHOULD be paying literally tens of thousands to millions in taxes being able to run out of country, but yet, still maintain their base here in the US, and have other smaller corporations (like mine) that CAN'T leave the country due to other regulations, is bullshit.

--Toll_Free

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