Turns out that messing around with legal (but questionable) Irish tax laws isn’t just for the big corporate types anymore: it even applies to hand-crafted, crunchy-granola online retailers like Etsy.
In a little-noticed change to the company’s Terms of Use that took effect last month, the online craft retailer has now restructured itself such that it now has an Irish subsidiary, Etsy Ireland, an unlimited liability corporation. The move allows Etsy to now take advantage of a tool that has become all-too-common among major tech companies, including Apple, Google, IBM, and others, as a way to both conceal financial disclosures and drastically reduce global tax obligations. (Bloomberg was the first to report on this change.)
Etsy’s move is particularly eyebrow-raising given that it has a “B Lab certification,” under which it agrees to use business “as a force for good,” and “be the change we seek in the world.” That designation means while Etsy remains a for-profit company as organized under Delaware state law, it is supposed to adhere to certain self-imposed ethical principles.
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