Facebook on Wednesday said it is closing Irish subsidiaries amid a dispute on profit shifting to avoid taxes in the United States. The US tax authorities have claimed that Facebook owed billions in taxes by improperly shifting profits offshore.
The move was “part of a change that best aligns with our operating structure,” a Facebook spokesperson said, adding that the holdings of the three subsidiaries were “distributed to its US parent company.” The closing of Facebook Irish units was earlier reported by The Times of London and other news media.
The social media giant has disputed the claims from US tax authorities, which is seeking $9 billion for allegedly undervaluing intellectual property assets used by the social network.
Facebook repatriated these assets in July in a move that “best aligns corporate structure with where we expect to have most of our activities and people,” the company said.
The tech giant said it has paid over $11 billion globally in income over the last three years, adding that its effective tax rate over the last five years exceeds 20%.
The news comes amid stalled negotiations on a new global tax treaty which would allocate profits of multinational firms including tech giants and efforts by some countries to unilaterally impose digital taxes based on revenues.
In November, some 75 major tech players, including Google and Facebook, backed a French initiative committing them to making a “fair tax contribution” in countries where they operate.