Within hours a terse reply had been dispatched across Ireland’s second city. In the memo, dated September 15, 2004, an E&Y partner explained that the company was not trading and, in any event, was not technically resident in Ireland for tax purposes. “In the circumstances, there is nothing to return from the corporation tax standpoint,” the bean-counter wrote.
The company in question was not some doomed venture established by a foreign investor on Ireland’s wild southern coast. Rather, it is one of the most profitable companies the world has known.