Irish Angry at U2's Tax Evasion

Group criticized as hypocritical in light of history of activism
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2009 3:02 PM CST
In this photo released by the BBC members of the Irish rock band U2 greet fans when they performed several songs at the top of BBC's Broadcasting House in central London Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.   (AP Photo/BBC)
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(Newser) – U2 is under fire for possible tax evasion as the Irish government pushes for a bigger slice of the band’s earnings, the Christian Science Monitor reports. U2 moved its publishing company to Amsterdam in 2006 after a tax bill limited artists’ tax-free earnings to $315,000. With Irish deficits mounting, some fans say U2 needs to pay its fair share.

Despite its humanitarian activism, U2 “is taking advantage of the same tax-avoidance schemes that multinational companies use to deprive developing countries of important revenue,” an Irish economist said. The band claims to be fully tax-compliant. On a personal note, singer Bono said, “the thing that stung us was the accusation of hypocrisy for my work as an activist.”