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U2 => The Band => Topic started by: redrunningred on June 04, 2017, 03:04:20 PM

Title: U2 and Taxes
Post by: redrunningred on June 04, 2017, 03:04:20 PM
Hey. So it doesnt really bother me, I know the boys have a heart of gold, and especially what Bono's done for charity, they really in my mind are good people, but i read in all the video comments, "PAY YOUR TAXES, TAX EXILES," etc. Whats the background on this criticism, and what are I am sure the reasonable responses to it?
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: WookieeWarrior10 on June 06, 2017, 04:06:35 PM
In a nutshell, U2 officially moved their country of operation from Ireland to the Netherlands because of tax costs... it's cheaper for the band that way. Lots of people chalk this up as "tax evasion" and label U2 (Bono, more specifically) as cheap and phony.

It's smart business to me, but what do I know?  :)
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: ShankAsu on June 06, 2017, 05:00:58 PM
they did nothing illegal.  they used the tax laws to their advantage.  they've paid plenty of taxes in their lifetime.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: briscoetheque on June 06, 2017, 05:15:07 PM
The world deals in perception, not reality. People object, understandably, to a rich corporation with access to highly skilled business and accounting professionals minimising (albeit it legally) the tax they pay.

And they object to this being done whilst the lead singer of the   corporation lobbies governments all over the world to increase the aid from their tax revenue that goes to causes that may not be a top priority.

Its been discussed a lot. But to me it's completely understandable, and a savvy business decision became a very bad PR decision.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: fardreamer on June 07, 2017, 01:28:10 AM
I pay as little tax as possible. I think everyone pays as little tax as possible.

It was always a manufactured controversy.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: tigerfan41 on June 07, 2017, 05:23:47 AM
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they did nothing illegal.  they used the tax laws to their advantage.  they've paid plenty of taxes in their lifetime.

This. What the critics fail to realize is at some point, U2 became a business rather than just 4 people in a band. As such, they treat their finances as a business would and, you guessed it, take advantage of tax laws as a business would. Which includes setting up headquarters in a place that doesn't charge a lot of business taxes.

HOWEVER, the band members themselves DO pay taxes in their homeland and presumably wherever else they live. And probably a lot of taxes, too, as they 4 of the wealthiest musicians in the world.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: Ronan on June 08, 2017, 01:55:24 AM
They also funded the Music Generation programme in Ireland.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: paganini12345 on June 10, 2017, 05:46:35 PM
So do the people who don't have a problem with U2 moving their business and paying less tax also not have a problem with the likes of Amazon and starbucks etc paying either little or no tax?

Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: miaveni on June 11, 2017, 07:50:36 AM
Ireland did themselves in because they had...and may still have a law that gave artists a pass on paying taxes... the country never thought they would have one of their own become so huge, (making more than the countries gross national product) ha ha ha    Then typical Irish style, where you give no credit to your own, the country turned around and said " Hey wait a second, Now you should pay taxes"   If Ireland were smart they would have made a deal with U2...U2 was willing to pay......just not the crazy amount the country wanted....Ireland would still have made billions on tourism and the music business. It was foolish and the country missed out.  U2 is still here, still making billions, and Ireland is sitting there crying like babies..
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: ShankAsu on June 12, 2017, 09:19:01 AM
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So do the people who don't have a problem with U2 moving their business and paying less tax also not have a problem with the likes of Amazon and starbucks etc paying either little or no tax?
I have no clue what any company pays for taxes or what their rate is, but as long as any business or corporation isn't breaking the law and cheating the tax system, then why would anyone have a problem with it.  If you have an issue with how much anyone pays in taxes, blame the laws not the businesses.  The goal of businesses are to make a profit, not pay taxes- unless you're running a charity (but even then taxes are not charity).  Long as companies and individuals follow the book on what they declare and pay, why begrudge them?
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: DGordon1 on June 12, 2017, 09:42:34 AM
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So do the people who don't have a problem with U2 moving their business and paying less tax also not have a problem with the likes of Amazon and starbucks etc paying either little or no tax?
I have no clue what any company pays for taxes or what their rate is, but as long as any business or corporation isn't breaking the law and cheating the tax system, then why would anyone have a problem with it.  If you have an issue with how much anyone pays in taxes, blame the laws not the businesses.  The goal of businesses are to make a profit, not pay taxes- unless you're running a charity (but even then taxes are not charity).  Long as companies and individuals follow the book on what they declare and pay, why begrudge them?

There are lots of things that are inethical, which may not be illegal. Doesn't mean you should be immune from criticism for doing it.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: ShankAsu on June 12, 2017, 11:41:23 AM
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So do the people who don't have a problem with U2 moving their business and paying less tax also not have a problem with the likes of Amazon and starbucks etc paying either little or no tax?
I have no clue what any company pays for taxes or what their rate is, but as long as any business or corporation isn't breaking the law and cheating the tax system, then why would anyone have a problem with it.  If you have an issue with how much anyone pays in taxes, blame the laws not the businesses.  The goal of businesses are to make a profit, not pay taxes- unless you're running a charity (but even then taxes are not charity).  Long as companies and individuals follow the book on what they declare and pay, why begrudge them?

There are lots of things that are inethical, which may not be illegal. Doesn't mean you should be immune from criticism for doing it.
but if you're following the law- how is that unethical exactly?  I think that argument is going to be more a matter of opinion and a debate on semantics.  Again- blame the tax codes if you don't like them, not the people who follow them lawfully.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: miryclay on June 12, 2017, 12:00:13 PM
Ireland is also very different than the US when it comes to 'the culture' regarding taxes. From my observations, though not exclusively, it seems many Americans dutifully pay taxes and might be proud of it. Whereas in Europe and Ireland there seems to be systemic dependency generation after generation and 'angling' to pay as little as possible for those that do. I also find Europeans have less respect for Intellectual Property as Americans do (which seems to be the highest in the world in that category).   
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: DGordon1 on June 13, 2017, 06:39:45 AM
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So do the people who don't have a problem with U2 moving their business and paying less tax also not have a problem with the likes of Amazon and starbucks etc paying either little or no tax?
I have no clue what any company pays for taxes or what their rate is, but as long as any business or corporation isn't breaking the law and cheating the tax system, then why would anyone have a problem with it.  If you have an issue with how much anyone pays in taxes, blame the laws not the businesses.  The goal of businesses are to make a profit, not pay taxes- unless you're running a charity (but even then taxes are not charity).  Long as companies and individuals follow the book on what they declare and pay, why begrudge them?

There are lots of things that are inethical, which may not be illegal. Doesn't mean you should be immune from criticism for doing it.
but if you're following the law- how is that unethical exactly?  I think that argument is going to be more a matter of opinion and a debate on semantics.  Again- blame the tax codes if you don't like them, not the people who follow them lawfully.

Well I'd say companies that undertake elaborate schemes involving fake companies etc to artificially lessen their tax burden is absolutely unethical, I don't see how anyone can honestly sayotherwise.

Some practices are legal only because the legislative process is playing catch up with these guys, and once the loopholes are closed it will be illegal. So how can the same process be unethical prior to legislative changes, and unethical afterwards. The legality may have changed, but if it's a sh***y thing to do afterwards, it was still a sh***y thing to do beforehand.

To an extent ethics is subjective, based on everyone's own moral compass. FYI I don't think that what U2 did was all that bad at all, I'm referring more to the behaviours of the likes of Amazon and Starbucks. Tax avoidance on an industrial scale.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: DGordon1 on June 13, 2017, 06:47:11 AM
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Ireland is also very different than the US when it comes to 'the culture' regarding taxes. From my observations, though not exclusively, it seems many Americans dutifully pay taxes and might be proud of it. Whereas in Europe and Ireland there seems to be systemic dependency generation after generation and 'angling' to pay as little as possible for those that do. I also find Europeans have less respect for Intellectual Property as Americans do (which seems to be the highest in the world in that category).   

I disagree with this. The idea of everyone paying into a national health service for example, is a cherished and an almost universally-agreed upon notion in the UK, yet in the US it's massively controversial. The UK also has a larger welfare bill than the US in terms of proportion of taxation, although this is a more contentious point among people. Obviously things vary quite a lot throughout Europe, so what you say may apply more to other countries.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: JFW on June 14, 2017, 08:26:01 AM
U2 in Texas?
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: Luzita on July 09, 2017, 09:07:41 PM
As I understand it U2 moved just one of their companies from Ireland to Holland to take advantage of a better tax rate. This is nothing like the shady tax avoidance of some companies, it is totally legit and even still within the EU. It is rediculous some have decided to criticize this.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: codeguy on July 25, 2017, 03:27:00 PM
Ireland introduced a property tax in 2010 (NAMA), and it required anyone using property in Ireland as anything other than a principle residence to register it as a vacation or business property with the authorities, otherwise they would be treated as a resident for tax purposes. All of U2's Irish residences are registered as principle residencies with this authority, which means that all four members of the band are still Irish residents for tax purposes. Since Principle Management is a Dutch corporation, it's within the EU jurisdiction, and therefore all payments to the four band members are directly taxable in the countries in which they reside. So U2's company may pay a 1.5% tax on their global earnings, but all four band members subsequently pay Irish income tax at a  40% rate, plus 11% social taxes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Income_tax (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Income_tax)

The criticism of the band over this is based, not on fact, but on people not wanting Bono preaching about debt relief. The law that taxed U2 on their worldwide earnings and prompted their move to the netherlands was introduced around the same time as Bono was meeting President Bush, doing Live8, Gleneagles, etc.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: Smee on August 09, 2017, 11:06:15 AM
I was just about to say (until codedguy beat me to it) that the band members still pay something like 45% tax on their personal income, to Irish Coffers.
As Paul McGuiness said, only 1% of u2's income is generated in Ireland, so u2 acted within the rules and moved u2 (The Business_, to Netherlands, for tax efficiency purposes (as many other stars, like Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and many others have done). I believe in America, the big stars there do similar thing, within the Camen islands.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: Will21st on August 12, 2017, 10:50:07 AM
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Ireland introduced a property tax in 2010 (NAMA), and it required anyone using property in Ireland as anything other than a principle residence to register it as a vacation or business property with the authorities, otherwise they would be treated as a resident for tax purposes. All of U2's Irish residences are registered as principle residencies with this authority, which means that all four members of the band are still Irish residents for tax purposes. Since Principle Management is a Dutch corporation, it's within the EU jurisdiction, and therefore all payments to the four band members are directly taxable in the countries in which they reside. So U2's company may pay a 1.5% tax on their global earnings, but all four band members subsequently pay Irish income tax at a  40% rate, plus 11% social taxes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Income_tax (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxation_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Income_tax)

The criticism of the band over this is based, not on fact, but on people not wanting Bono preaching about debt relief. The law that taxed U2 on their worldwide earnings and prompted their move to the netherlands was introduced around the same time as Bono was meeting President Bush, doing Live8, Gleneagles, etc.

Never understood this whole malarkey about their taxes... they've paid more taxes in a lot of countries than 99% of the people that live there, not to mention the economic benefits their tours bring to the territories they play, employees wages etc etc....

some people just need to spread their misery rather than improving their own lives best they can.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: Bono in love with himself on August 21, 2017, 07:22:02 PM

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jun/26/frontman-bono-harry-browne-review

Visiting Limerick a couple of years ago to see a friend, it was Bono's comments on tax when Ireland was in recession that grated our friend and her family.

Bono belongs to the new, cool, post-political Ireland; but by turning back to the old, hungry, strife-torn nation, now rebaptised as Africa, he could bridge the gap between the two. Even so, he has not been greatly honoured in his own notoriously begrudging country, or elsewhere. Harry Browne recounts the (perhaps apocryphal) tale of the singer standing on stage clapping while declaring: "Every time I clap my hands, a child dies." "Then stop f****** doing it!" yelled a voice from the crowd.

Paul David Hewson's rise to fame also coincides with the postmodern decline of politics into spectacle. What more suitable politician than a rock star in an age of manufactured sentiments and manipulated images? Having strayed in from showbusiness, Bono can present himself as outside the political arena, speaking simply from the heart; but his fame as a musician also means that he has a constituency of millions, which means in turn that the political establishment are eager to have him on the inside. For all his carefully crafted self-irony (how ridiculous for me, an overpaid rock star from working-class Dublin, to be saving the world!), the inside is a place he has never betrayed any great reluctance to occupy. Since an outsider is unlikely to know much about global economics, he is likely to take his cue from the conventional wisdom of the insiders, which is why Bono is both maverick and conservative.

One result of his campaigning has been a kind of starvation chic. In this impressively well-researched polemic, Browne recounts how Ali Hewson, Bono's wife, praised the work of her company's Paris-based clothes designer for being influenced by dusty African landscapes. She admired "the way some of the clothes look like they've been worn before and sort of restitched to incorporate the continent, in a sense". Hewson's Messianic husband, or "the little t**t with the big heart", as Viz magazine once dubbed him, has been trying to incorporate Africa into his image for a good few decades now. Like Geldof, he inherited the social conscience of the 1960s without its political radicalism, which is why he has proved so convenient a front man for the neo-liberals.

If Bono really knew the history of his own people, he would be aware that the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s was not the result of a food shortage. Famines rarely are. There were plenty of crops in the country, but they had to be exported to pay the landlords' rents. There was also enough food in Britain at the time to feed Ireland several times over. What turned a crisis into a catastrophe was the free market doctrine for which the U2 front man is so ardent an apologist. Widespread hunger is the result of predatory social systems, a fact that Bono's depoliticising language of humanitarianism serves to conceal.

Browne's case is simple but devastating. As a multimillionaire investor, world-class tax avoider, pal of Bush and Blair and crony of the bankers and neo-cons, Bono has lent credence to the global forces that wreak much of the havoc he is eager to mop up. His technocratic, west-centred, corporation-friendly campaigns have driven him into one false solution, unsavoury alliance and embarrassing debacle after another. The poor for him, Browne claims, exist largely as objects of the west's charity. They are not seen as capable of the kind of militant mobilisation that might threaten western interests.

Put the NO back into Bono.

http://makebonohistory.org/

Turns out he did eventually find what he was looking for and it was lots of money and a team of sharp accountants.

Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: Inishfree on October 05, 2017, 07:44:23 AM
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As I understand it U2 moved just one of their companies from Ireland to Holland to take advantage of a better tax rate. This is nothing like the shady tax avoidance of some companies, it is totally legit and even still within the EU. It is rediculous some have decided to criticize this.


I think that's what I read too.  Just the song writing royalties. 

Bono and Edge own properties in the states and would pay the home owner's tax.   It can differ in percentage of value from state to state.  U2 also pays taxes for every show they perform, again in the states.  Plus, federal earnings.  I don't know what the tax laws are for international. 
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: Smee on October 07, 2017, 10:03:08 AM
As i understand it, u2 pay taxes in something like 70+ countries. So they contribute to many countries income!
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: miryclay on October 07, 2017, 10:36:42 AM
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As i understand it, u2 pay taxes in something like 70+ countries. So they contribute to many countries income!

Better than sitting on one's ar*e.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: Asteroid41 on January 14, 2018, 08:43:35 AM
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Ireland is also very different than the US when it comes to 'the culture' regarding taxes. From my observations, though not exclusively, it seems many Americans dutifully pay taxes and might be proud of it. Whereas in Europe and Ireland there seems to be systemic dependency generation after generation and 'angling' to pay as little as possible for those that do. I also find Europeans have less respect for Intellectual Property as Americans do (which seems to be the highest in the world in that category).

All world wide companies are all doing the same, American companies also. I guess the difference between the band and all other companies is that the band announced it public.
Title: Re: U2 and Taxes
Post by: jgrooms on February 15, 2018, 11:03:28 AM
I think it smart business myself as well.  However there are always critics. 

I play music and often hear this type (and other) of criticism about U2 from musicians.  I often ask the musicians who make these claims if they paid taxes on all the money they make at gigs (99% of it is cash).  Of course the answer 9.99 times out of 10 is no.  So they are just just as guilty and arguably more so since what they are doing is technically tax evasion.  U2 and corporations are actually doing it legally to reduce taxes, not flat out avoid paying any like my high and mighty musician friends.

Seems like a bunch of hypocrites really, at least in my example.