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EU Competition Chief on Apple Tax Probe: 'Don't Hold Your Breath'

A decision in the European Commission's probe of Apple's tax affairs in Ireland may not be reached soon, according to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager (via Bloomberg).“Don’t hold your breath,” she told reporters in Brussels on Monday about the timing of decisions targeting Apple and online shopping giant Amazon.com Inc, whose tax affairs in Luxembourg are also under intense scrutiny. “I’m just warning you.”Apple is one of several multinational corporations, alongside Amazon, McDonald's, Starbucks, and others, that have been targeted for possible corporate tax avoidance in Europe. Brussels launched the probe in June 2014, and it formally accused the iPhone maker of receiving illegal state aid from Ireland three months later. If Apple's $64.1 billion in profits generated from 2004 to 2012 are subjected to a 12.5% tax rate, compared to its current foreign tax rate of about 1.8%, the company could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes. Apple continues to deny any wrongdoing, and vows to appeal any decision that goes against the company. Apple operates multiple subsidiaries in Ireland to pay significantly less tax outside of the U.S., where it earns up to 60% of its revenue. A decision in the tax probe was originally expected in late 2015, but the European Commission's request for additional information has pushed the investigation into 2016. 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

European Probe of Apple's Irish Tax Policies Extended to 2016

A decision in the European Commission probe of Ireland's alleged "sweetheart tax deal" with Apple will likely be delayed until after the Irish elections in early 2016, as Financial Times reports the executive cabinet has now requested supplementary questionnaires in the lengthy investigation. The European Commission began Apple's Irish tax probe in June 2014, and the Brussels-based executive body formally accused the iPhone maker of receiving illegal state aid from Ireland in September 2014. A decision was originally expected earlier this year, but the additional information requested will likely cause further delays. Apple's tax policies have been scrutinized on numerous occasions over the past three years, as the company is said to utilize multiple subsidiary companies located in the Irish city of Cork to move money around without significant tax penalties. Apple continues to deny any wrongdoing, and Ireland vows to take the European Commission to court over any negative ruling, according to the report. Apple's Irish tax probe is part of a larger crackdown by the European Commission on possible corporate tax avoidance in EU countries. Earlier this month, the commission reportedly accused McDonald's of "benefiting from arrangements that allowed it to pay no tax on European royalties in Luxembourg," and Fiat and Starbucks were ordered in October to repay up to €30 million in back

Italian Regulators Conclude Corporate Tax Investigation Against Apple

Italian regulators have completed an investigation into allegations that Apple failed to pay €879 million ($964 million) in corporate taxes, according to Reuters. The report states that, under Italian law, prosecutors can now ask a judge to bring the case to trial. Apple claims that it has paid all necessary taxes in countries that it operates and is confident that the process will be resolved. Apple's flagship Via Roma retail store in Torino, Italy The investigations accuse Apple of booking profits generated in Italy through an Irish subsidiary in an effort to lower its taxable income base and save nearly €900 million from 2008 through 2013. Apple argues that it's "one of the largest tax payers in the world and paid every euro of tax it owed wherever it did business," and believes that the allegations against its employees are without merit.It said the Italian tax authorities had audited Apple’s Italian operations in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and confirmed it was in full compliance with the OECD documentation and transparency requirements. "These new allegations against our employees are completely without merit and we’re confident this process will reach the same conclusion," it said.Apple is one of several multinational tech companies, including Amazon and Google, that have faced corporate tax investigations in the United States and Europe. The U.S. Senate accused Apple of avoiding billions in income taxes in May 2013, while the European Union accused the company of receiving illegal state aid from Ireland after completing a formal investigation into its questionable