"The band was heavily criticised after moving parts of its business affairs from Ireland to the Netherlands in 2006, apparently in response to a cap on already generous tax breaks for artists in the republic. Though the band insists this simply reflects the global nature of their income as the world's highest-earning musicians, their decision not to pay all their tax in their home country looks even worse in the light of Ireland's financial meltdown. Bono is happy to tell the government how it should spend taxpayers' money – campaigning for an increase to the aid budget – yet he has taken his tax euros not just from Ireland's development fund, but also its hospitals and schools."They also note that:
"The case in Bono's favour – and it is a strong one – is that he's almost certainly done more for the world's poorest people than anyone who has come to protest against him in the Glastonbury crowd. Which makes his choices over tax even more curious."There does seem to be a case to answer here. There are no apparent mitigating circumstances, external shareholders or commercial reasons that might justify the band's (legal) tax avoidance activities. About the only justification I could imagine that would legitimise these would be if the monies otherwise payable as taxes are being donated directly to charitable aid projects. This would be akin to Bono saying to the Irish Government - "I'm cutting out the middleman. Instead of keeping my companies in Ireland and paying taxes here, I've set things up so that I can pay similar amounts (or more) directly to help the needy. I don't trust the Government to do enough for them." It's a nice thought.