Apple Must Repay $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes, EU Commission Rules

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
7,446
8,511



Apple must repay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes dating back to 2003-2014, the European Commission has ruled (via BBC).

The Apple tax ruling was confirmed this morning, after the judgement was leaked to the media yesterday. In unequivocal wording, the EU commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Apple's tax benefits in Ireland are "illegal".
"The Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to EUR13 billion to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid."
Vestiges said this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 percent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 percent in 2014. Therefore in 2014 Apple paid 0.005 percent tax on EU profits, which means that "For every million euros in profits, it (Apple) paid just EUR500 in taxes," said Vestager. "This is based on an in-depth investigation, it's based on the facts. I also think and hope that if it goes to the courts that it will be upheld by the European Court."

According to the EC's press release, the existing tax rulings endorsed a way to establish the taxable profits for two Irish incorporated companies of the Apple group (Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe), which did not correspond to economic reality:
"Almost all sales profits recorded by the two companies were internally attributed to a 'head office'. The Commission's assessment showed that these 'head offices' existed only on paper and could not have generated such profits. These profits allocated to the 'head offices" were not subject to tax in any country under specific provisions of the Irish tax law, which are no longer in force."
Ireland Finance Minister Noonan said the country "disagrees profoundly" with the back tax ruling by the European Commission. "The decision leaves me with no choice but to seek cabinet approval to appeal. This is necessary to defend the integrity of our tax system; to provide tax certainty to business; and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules into the sovereign member state competence of taxation," he said.

Apple shares fell more than 2 percent in pre-market trading following the ruling, which comes after a three-year investigation into Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland, where it was initially thought to have paid around 2 percent or less in taxes compared to the country's headline 12.5 percent corporate tax rate.

Update: Apple has reacted to today's ruling with the following response:
"The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple's history in Europe, ignore Ireland's tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process. The Commission's case is not about how much Apple pays in taxes, it's about which government collects the money. It will have a profound and harmful effect on investment and job creation in Europe. Apple follows the law and pays all of the taxes we owe wherever we operate. We will appeal and we are confident the decision will be overturned."
Apple CEO Tim Cook has also posted "A Message to the Apple Community in Europe" on the Apple website.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple Must Repay $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes, EU Commission Rules
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cybbe

Cybbe

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2004
302
85
Following an in-depth state aid investigation launched in June 2014, the European Commission has concluded that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple have substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991. The rulings endorsed a way to establish the taxable profits for two Irish incorporated companies of the Apple group (Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe), which did not correspond to economic reality: almost all sales profits recorded by the two companies were internally attributed to a "head office". The Commission's assessment showed that these "head offices" existed only on paper and could not have generated such profits. These profits allocated to the "head offices" were not subject to tax in any country under specific provisions of the Irish tax law, which are no longer in force. As a result of the allocation method endorsed in the tax rulings, Apple only paid an effective corporate tax rate that declined from 1% in 2003 to 0.005% in 2014 on the profits of Apple Sales International.
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2923_en.htm

I applaud this decision. I cannot see how paying 0.005 % in taxes is justified in any way.
 

xDKP

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2011
1,453
1,073
Denmark
They'll appeal it down but.. Good! Stop dogging taxes. Goes for all companies.
This is a deal Ireland has made for Apple - not Apple making a massive tax fraud. EU is interfering with the individual country tax system (to be honest I'm not in the details) which sounds a lot like many of the reasons The UK voted out.

Nobody should cheat, but this sounds like it isn't on Apple (get presented with a good deal by a country and accepting it isn't a crime) but more like the country it self
 

kissmo

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2011
799
557
Budapest, Hungary
Jonathan Ive will design the 13 billion EUR paper bill.
Or maybe it ill be made of Aluminium or Glass.... Either wait the bill will be sold to auction for 26 Billion EUR and thus Apple will make a profit out of it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MaxBlast and Seuck

JosephAW

macrumors 68020
May 14, 2012
2,395
2,578
Apple Employees in Ireland should update on their résumés.
Now's the time for the U.S. To offer an 8 year tax break and forgiveness in order to bring their money and jobs back to the states. A certain candidate should jump on it.
 

Schranke

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
847
813
Copenhagen, Denmark
This is a deal Ireland has made for Apple - not Apple making a massive tax fraud. EU is interfering with the individual country tax system (to be honest I'm not in the details) which sounds a lot like many of the reasons The UK voted out.

Nobody should cheat, but this sounds like it isn't on Apple (get presented with a good deal by a country and accepting it isn't a crime) but more like the country it self
The problem is that it is a crime, the lower taxes is illegal government founding.
A company as big as Apple should not think that they could have a lower tax than literally all other companies in Ireland.
 

dannys1

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2007
2,500
4,436
UK
Oh man, that's gotta sting a little bit. No doubt Apple will appeal the ruling.
Funnily enough, Ireland themselves are appealing the ruling. They want the big companies there paying little to no tax, because 1% of something is better than 100% of nothing (plus all the jobs Apple brings to Ireland) - Ireland quite likes being a tax haven for big business.
 

MH01

Suspended
Feb 11, 2008
12,118
9,213
getting popcorn and waiting for Tim to confirm these are but the droids we are looking for....
 
  • Like
Reactions: pentrix2