Bono, U2 and Tax Avoidance

Not everyone has the luxury of going offshore

Diminutive- alleged – hypocrite Bono looks set to get a taste of his own pontificating at the upcoming Glastonbury festival.

Art Uncut are planning to unveil a giant inflatable banner with the Slogan “Bono Pay Up” when U2 headline the gig.

They also intend to float an over-sized bundle of fake cash from one part of the crowd, under an Irish tricolour, to another section of the audience under a Dutch flag.

U2 attracted widespread criticism in 2006 when, immediately – as in one tenth of a second later – after the budget that year they shifted their loot to Holland after the government announced it was putting a cap on the tax exemptions limit for artists.

“Bono claims to care about the developing world, but U2 greedily indulges in the very kind of tax avoidance which is crippling the poor nations of this world,” droned a spokesman for Art Uncut

Dr. Sheila Killian of the University of Limerick said she believes that the €250,000 cap introduced in the budget was still very generous and that Bono’s attitude to what tax is all about is ill thought out.

“Tax is about citizenship,” she added.

Usually she would be right. We are morally obliged to pay tax. Otherwise society would fall apart. Even the Pope, I think it was the last one, declared that tax evasion is a sin.

However, here in our busted flush of a Republic our tax Euro – which should be used for health and education and Irish society as a whole – is being used to pay off the gambling debts of indigenous and European bankers, and to hand the criminals that got us into this mess index linked pensions and golden handshakes.

There’s nothing very moral about that. It’s about as moral to ask a person on an average industrial wage to pay these debts as it is to demand that we hand over money to a wretch coming out of a Paddy Power office who asks you to cover the cost of the wager he put on a nag in the 2.30 at Nass who finished down the field.

“What an English King has no right to demand, an English subject has a right to refuse” said John Hampden after King Charles 1 tried to impose a “shipping tax” on coastal towns in 1634. Resistance to this tax was one of the causes of the English civil war.

U2’s manager Paul McGuinness has stated previously that the band is a global business and pays taxes globally, that at least 95% of U2’s business takes place outside Ireland.

ONE, an anti-poverty group founded by Bono, pointed out that U2 have nothing to do with illegal tax evasion. Risibly, they appear to be suggesting that Bono is not a bollocks.

Maybe, God forbid, he isn’t? Maybe Bono prefers to cut out the middleman and give the aid, via One, direct.

And who can blame him? Why should anyone hand over a penny to a Continent, namely Africa, which is infested with half-arsed Marxist kleptocrats siphoning off millions of dollars in aid. It’s either that or the money is falling into the hands of Islamic radicals who want to turn the clock back to around the time when civilisation was discussing whether this wheel thingy would catch on.

I have no problem donating directly to Africa, as long as I know that no African despot comes within an elephant’s roar of the money.

I’m leaning toward Bono and U2 on this one – lord save me. However, a statement from ONE on tax, charity and developing countries wouldn’t go amiss, particularly as the New York Post alleged last year that just 1.2% of its income reaches the needy, that they are paying out £5.1 million in salaries from £9.6 million in donations.

As for ourselves. Well, they have us by the short and curlies. Our tax is stopped at source and handed over to gamblers. They’re still gambling as we speak, playing the equivalent of Texas Hold ’em with the future of entire societies – and we’re paying for the chips.

41 thoughts on “Bono, U2 and Tax Avoidance

  1. Agree wholeheartedly – they’re entitled to do what they wish with their earnings

    I just wish Bono would shut the fuck up about aid/politics and stick to the singing – If it’s that important write a fucking song about it

  2. I might be wrong but in the USA as a citizen are you not obliged to pay tax in America whether you are domiciled there or not?
    Not a bad idea I say if you have the passport you pay some.

  3. Not sure about that Rob. You reckon that an American living here should pay tax to the IRS?

    I’ll drink to that Esso. He appears to enjoy being a pain in the ass though.

  4. Good post. Normally I would disagree with you on this one. But my attitude has softened somewhat, with regard to the monetary aid and voice he gives Directly to those 3rd world peoples instead of it being siphoned off through salaries and sleight of hand thieving by greedy government bastards. But..not all taxes collected in this country go to world poverty aid. There is a country to run. This one that he and his family mostly reside in. The whole banking fiasco has left a deep depression settling on the heads of the Irish but is not directly related to him or how much he doesn’t pay in taxes. There. I’ve agreed and disagreed with you and now its time for more sun.

  5. I think the problem isn’t Bono so much as the tax laws.
    He’ll get away with what he can get away with.

    Still though, he’s a bit of a twirp.
    And I remember reading that post here on his charity.
    They don’t even have that many employees, so their total salary costs aren’t in any way justified.

  6. He’ll get away with what he can get away with.

    That would be fine if he wasn’t constantly lecturing the whole world on ethics.

  7. I wonder about the information flow in these things.
    Pre-blogs, this story would most likely not have made it into the public eye, such information would most likely have remained well out of sight.
    So, is Bono doing anything any different than the great thief himself did all his working life? (DeVelera)
    And I wonder, what’s the point when clearly no one could give a bollix about Bono and his ilk anyway?
    For myself, as you bring it up, I do believe the giving of cash to charities is a mugs game.
    I recall you guys figured that too and not so long ago, with that Red Cross event you organised for the survivors in Haiti.
    So what’s the point?

  8. That’s true Bock. He’s a bit of a twirp all right.. but so is the law.

    Regarding an earlier comment, as far as I know U.S citizens and ‘legal aliens’ for that matter are not exempt from paying tax to the IRS even when living outside of the U.S.
    But there are tax treaties with certain countries to avoid double taxation.
    http://www.irs.gov/businesses/international/article/0,,id=96739,00.html

  9. Rob/Seconds Out

    Rob is right about US taxation. As a citizen, you are obliged to pay US taxes on your worldwide income. There are tax treaties with certain countries (UK I can vouch for personally) so that taxes paid in the UK for example would credit against your US tax liability and you wouldn’t be double taxed. An American living in Ireland is most definitely on the hook to the IRS.

    As for the tax issue, it’s a tough one, but I tend to disagree with Bock on this one. While agree that we shouldn’t be paying off the gambling debts, thanks to our idiot elected leaders, we are on the hook (at least for now). Given that the repayment bill is a set number, any reduction in taxes Euros leads to a reduction in the “surplus” left over to pay for services and/or requires more borrowing to maintain service levels and leaves every other citizen poorer than if Bono paid up.

    It’s a tough call though. On the flip side, if we all moved our money offshore and just let the system collapse like the Greeks, maybe that would be the best way of signalling to the powers that be that government is meant to serve the people, and not the other way around.

    But I doubt that Bono was looking into the protest angle when he moved the cash offshore…..

  10. Just got in there before you on the U.S taxation Spikes :)

    Ah, I don’t get this: “and leaves every other citizen poorer than if Bono paid up.”
    The higher the tax intake the less to borrow , no?

  11. In terms of charity also. The Irish government give away over 700 million a year in aid to foreign countries. All borrowed. With interest to pay.
    High up in the worldwide ranking of top aid contributors to GDP ratio.

  12. What a simplistic analysis. Maybe I can broaden your horizon beyond the local parish hall and its gambling debts!!
    The point about Bono is simple. He participates in tax evasion. Africa is the the resource rich continent. One of the main reasons it is so poor is that companies exploiting the resources don’t pay taxes in the continent so the people of that continent don’t get any share in the resource wealth. The point being that Bono, when he is faced to pay his taxes also choose to evade. i.e he is a fucking hypocrite. This was way before gambling debts emerged although its probably the same bullshit argument foreign companies use when they don’t pay taxes to dictators.

    The next point..dictators and corrupt governments in Africa..do I really need to make the points about the fact that western economy deliberately destablises these countries..kills opposition to these regimes..supplies weapons..divides borders along ethnic lines and then encourages them to kill each other. The last thing any one wants is a stable, healthy, educated African population…I mean they might turn around and start to question why we are the ones who are getting fat off there resources. Do I need to make that point?

    About the €700 million FME makes..considering Ireland is a resource poor country (stolen gas aside) and our wealth is generated by our participation in a western economic model set out generally above I would think €700 milliono pay over in “charity” to keep Africans poor and dependent ain’t a bad deal. I mean when your having a feast why would you worry bout giving some crumbs back?

  13. €700 million is nothing when you compare the cost of collapse of the social order and with it the economic order. It never ceases to amaze me how many westerners think that we’re being soft on Africa and that we’re charitable towards them!!
    And it was a simplistic analysis. Bono’s actions considered in terms of Irish debt…I mean get over yourself. The African continent corrupt Marxist dictators was just lazy.

  14. FME…you said you didn’t make a big point in terms of the number of words used but the sentiment was very clear and its implications quiet large if teased out. You didn’t tease it out but that doesn’t mean that the point made was small.

  15. Highlight of reasons for Irelands ranking of sixth through FME Link.
    “its minimal arms exports to undemocratic governments”…..minimal!!!!

  16. KBurke — Welcome. You’re new here, so you might not be entirely familiar with the carry-on..

    Look, how can I put this? Some of the posts are designed to make people say “get over yourself”.

    So, it’s highly likely that someone will tell you to get over yourself. Ok?

  17. “you said you didn’t make a big point in terms of the number of words used but the sentiment was very clear and its implications quiet large if teased out. You didn’t tease it out but that doesn’t mean that the point made was small.”
    No idea what that means. I said wha?

    This is gibberish.. Is this Seconds out using another moniker? ha.

  18. Get over yourself Mr Bock. Meantime, Marxist dictators? Mr Bock doesn’t let us use any old cliche, he demands that we sex it up. How about half-arsed Marxist kleptocrats he suggested, as above

  19. So its ok that the sentiment is a cliche just as long as you use an unusual word to express the sentiment?

  20. Not exactly, but close. It has to be a sexy word, like kleptocrat. We have our principles in here, and if you don’t like those, well, as the other Marxist dictator Groucho might say, we have others. BP is making an interesting point there – we’ll never let the truth get in the way of a mindless cliche BP – how do you get that thingy over the e, dam French.

  21. I was so enraged by your embryonic analysis that I missed the sexy word “kleptocrat” and the entire point of the post.
    How foolish do I feel!

  22. Embryonic, that’s a great word, store that one away in the Bockthesaurus and buy that man a drink.

    Now, is Bono a bollocks or what?

  23. Sleep on it.? hmm.
    Okay about the 700 million.. I didn’t say I didn’t make a big point.
    I said I didn’t make quite that much. Oh nevermind.

    “About the €700 million FME makes”..
    “Well I don’t quite make that much Kburke. :) ”

    Bock, can you make English a prerequisite for commenting please?
    I can’t decipher half of what’s said sometimes.

  24. FME, “dechiper” – is that in the thesarus for Donkey Ford’s take away, ah, you corrected it, you ruined it now.

  25. Like donkeys battered sausages, I’m some to be talking, sent a bit into the Daily Psychiatric once, ran a spell check through it and didn’t notice Mungret was changed to Mongrel all the way through. Subs never spotted it, all alcoholics. I still can’t venture out Mungret way. although the dogs out there are fond of me.

  26. “Something fishy lookin about dechiper.. ha ha..”

    very true. I would take it with a pinch of salt :)

  27. Bock- I had made a point about the quality of the article and the opinions expressed. I also responded to a comment about the idea that Ireland pays to much charity to Africa. I thought that was pretty clear.After that it did all become a bit pointless.

    Appreciate the “..this is the way we do things around here..”

    …but I’d rather not.

  28. @ Mr Burke The wan of the F.M.E’s did not say we pay too much to charity. She simply stated a fact
    ‘In terms of charity also. The Irish government give away over 700 million a year in aid to foreign countries. All borrowed. With interest to pay. High up in the worldwide ranking of top aid contributors to GDP ratio’
    That’s just a fact.
    @ Seconds out – re Bono. Yes he is a cunt. They beat us in the Stella competition – Fucken Rats! As a consequence I’ve been paying my tax’s since and keeping my money in a china tea pot. Why should he be allowed to shift his money around with impunity. The little shit. Pay your tax’s Bono, you sanctimonious little shit head.

    Think I need a coffee and a fag.

  29. Hard luck with the Stella gig LJS. At the time I recall hearing that you could vote for the band of your choice at same via a coupon on the Hot Press.Kids, this was before email and text. They didn’t even have those things in
    Star Trek in our days.We used to have to walk to gigs in our bare feet, our feet were our only carriage. During the 70 mile round trip the Christian brothers used bate hurlies off our backs because we weren’t going to the Fleadh Cheoil.Anyway,McGuinness, or whoever was manager at the time, bought a “rake” of copies of HP and voted for U2″. Why didn’t we think of that? Bono. started going downhill when he started with the towel around his neck thingy – and the trans Atlantic accent.

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