Tuesday, August 30, 2016

EU wants Apple to return €13 billion in illegal tax benefits

The European Comission has concluded a multi-year investigation into Apple's taxes in Europe, and has found that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple, and it now must recover the illegal aid.

Once again, we have an investigation that is looking into the sort of tax maneuvers practically all big companies use. Apple's profits from all over Europe are funneled into Ireland, where it pays a tax of only 0.005%(!) and most of those profits are redirected to a head office that exists only on paper. Now, the EC wants Ireland to get back the 13 billion euros Apple has benefited  from over the past decade.

I'm sure Apple will appeal and this case will spend a couple more years, back and forth, in courts; but the main thing is... this sort of thing only happens because it's allowed to happen! There are lots of companies doing this sort of thing; and it would be enough to simplify the tax system and enforce the same conditions in every country of the EU. As it stands, Apple is not being punished by doing this sort of thing, it's being punished because it got a "better deal" than every other company doing exactly the same.

Update: as expected, Apple will appeal.

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