The European Commission has slapped Apple with a huge tax bill of $14.5 billion dollars. The technology giant had worked around the laws of Europe to get a sweetheart deal with some of the leaders of the Irish government.
Apple and other companies went to Europe to avoid taxes and are now busted. Good. Wherever they go the host country has to provide infrastructure and educated, employable people. Yes, Apple should pay taxes.
Imagine how much Apple would owe the U.S. if they played by the rules. Their products are already made using near slave labor, and their products cost a premium (and then some). There’s no excuse as to why they aren’t paid in full other than corporate greed.
From The Verge:
The European Commission has ordered Ireland to collect up to €13 billion ($14.5 billion) from Apple, plus interest, ruling that the tech giant received illegal tax benefits from the Irish government. The decision brings a close to one phase of an ongoing investigation into tax deals carried out by US multinationals across Europe.
In a press release announcing the decision, the European Union’s antitrust regulator said Apple’s two tax deals with the Irish government “substantially and artificially lowered” the tax that Apple has paid to Ireland since 1991. The 1991 rulings allowed Apple to declare profits generated by two Irish subsidiaries — Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe. In the ruling announced today, the EC said that the profits reported by these companies “did not correspond to economic reality,” and that Ireland’s tax deal was illegal because it gave Apple “a significant advantage over other businesses that are subject to the same national taxation rules.”
“The Member States cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, head of EC competition policy, said in a statement. “The Commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years. In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 per cent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014.”
European regulators have launched several investigations into so-called “sweetheart deals” that some member states offer to multinational companies. The arrangements allow companies to shift profits and exploit loopholes to pay lower effective tax rates.
Apple can now afford such a serious backlash, both PR-wise and financially. It was a very different company that once established themselves in Ireland. Even though I went after Apple earlier in my article, I also feel Ireland should share this burden since they clearly intensively campaigned for Apple and other companies to come to Ireland and enjoy tax breaks.
If Ireland broke the EU’s rules by giving unfair tax breaks to Apple, why is Apple being punished for Ireland’s mistake? I’m no fan of corporations weaseling out of paying taxes, but they did so legally by Irish law. That means Ireland needs to change its tax laws, and possibly pay a fine to the EU for breaking EU law.
What we have here is another major corporation that’s been allowed to grow WAY too big and it’s hurting the little man. That’s the facts, my friends.
Do you think Apple should be forced to pay this enormous bill by themselves? Does Ireland have any responsibility? Share your valued opinion below in the comment section and let me know what you think.