U2’s Bono Defends Tax Arrangements: ‘It Is Our Sovereign Right to Be Tax Competitive’


Bono, lead singer of Irish rock band U2, has defending his band’s tax efficiency measures following accusations of hypocrisy. Speaking to Sky News Bono explained that while he and fellow band members paid a lot of tax they merely wanted to be “sensible” about how that happened.

Defending tax arrangements including a company based in the Netherlands that is related to U2, guitarist The Edge explained that with so much of the band’s business being done outside Ireland “it is ridiculous to make a big deal about the fact we operate outside of [the country].” Bono continued:

“We pay a fortune in tax, a fortune, just so people know, and we’re happy to pay a fortune in tax, people should. But it doesn’t mean because you’re good at philanthropy and because I’m an activist people think you should be stupid in business, I don’t run with that.”

Music journalist Tim Chipping, admitting that he is not a fan of their music, criticised the stance taken by the band. Also speaking to Sky News the writer whose Twitter bio states “these are my views but coincidentally they’re also the views of the BBC” said:

“If you spend your career, as Bono has, lecturing governments about how to deal with poverty in a foreign country when the poor in your own country have been suffering under a financial crisis for years, a financial crisis that isn’t helped if the richest people in that country are not paying a full rate of tax, it’s just hypocritical and contemptible.”

Bono also took the opportunity to defend his home country for its attitude to taxation saying:

“Our country believes in being tax competitive. We’ve had some hard times in Ireland over the years and smart people in government and in the civil service have worked hard to make Ireland tax competitive and it’s been great. It’s got a lot of technological companies, a lot of people receive some very high level education. We are not going back on that. I know it upsets people and people get annoyed in Europe and sometimes in America but we think it is our sovereign right to be tax competitive and U2 just reflects that.”