Bono, lead singer of Irish band U2, has a history of telling governments how they should spend tax revenue:
At a concert last year in Croke Park, Dublin’s biggest stadium, Bono appealed to Prime Minister Bertie Ahern to raise overseas aid to 0.7 percent of gross national product by 2007 from 0.5 percent now.
Fair enough. But with this latest tax move Bono is essentially saying only the little people need contribute their share.
After Ireland said it would scrap a break that lets musicians and artists avoid paying taxes on royalties, Bono and his U2 bandmates earlier this year moved their music publishing company to the Netherlands. The Dublin group, which Forbes estimates earned $110 million in 2005, will pay about 5 percent tax on their royalties, less than half the Irish rate.
The hypocrisy hasn’t gone unnoticed:
“It seems odd, in a situation where they enjoy an already favorable tax regime, they would move operations to the Netherlands to get an even more favorable rate,” said Joan Burton, finance spokeswoman for the opposition Labour Party.