Surf this blog and you’ll find I’m a Bono fan. I reference his RED campaign from a few days ago as just one example. But Bono is facing cries of hypocrisy today.
Noted for chastising the Irish government (and many other governments) for doing too little for Africa, Bono and his U2 bandmates are being criticized for doing too little for the tax base of Ireland. ‘Twould seem that Ireland has had a tax incentive for artists that has benefitted Bono, the Edge, Larry & Adam. That benefit (no taxes on royalties) is coming to an end. So U2, in an effort to be “tax-efficent” in David Evan’s words (Evans is the Edge), is moving their publishing arm to the Netherlands where they will be taxed at a 5% rate, versus 10% in Ireland. The group earned about $110 million last year according to Forbes (as reported in the International Herald Tribune). How much of that was royalties is not broken out.
U2 earns most of their income from outside Ireland. They question whether it is that big a problem for their corporate entity to attempt to save as much in taxes as possible from that worldwide income. After all, they do pay personal taxes in Ireland.
I’m sure it does make financial sense. The question is, does it make good PR sense when Bono takes the governments of the world to task for not paying their fair share? Methinks not.