Apple Targeted by EU Probe into Irish Tax Policies as U.S. Considers Tax Holiday for Cash Repatriation

euflag.pngThe European Commission today launched a formal investigation into Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland, seeking to determine whether the company's tax deals in the country are considered illegal state aid. The Commission is also investigating Starbucks and Fiat Finance & Trade SA.

"Special secret deals should be outlawed across the EU," Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said in an e-mailed statement. "All tax breaks and reliefs should be openly available for qualifying businesses."

Apple's tax policies have been under scrutiny in recent years, as it utilizes multiple subsidiary companies headquartered in the Irish city of Cork to move money around the world without significant tax penalties because companies managed and controlled abroad but located in Ireland are not subject to taxes. Last year, Apple's arrangements earned it a tax rate of 3.7 percent on non-U.S. income.

Apple has maintained that its tax policies are entirely legal, a position it echoed today in a statement to Bloomberg. An SEC investigation also found Apple's tax policies to be legal.

"Apple pays every euro of every tax that we owe," the company said in an e-mailed statement. "We have received no selective treatment from Irish officials. Apple is subject to the same tax laws as scores of other international companies doing business in Ireland."

As the European Commission begins its investigation, the U.S. Senate is considering a one-time tax break to repatriate cash held overseas. Back in 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cook defended Apple's tax practices and responded to accusations of "extensive tax-avoidance strategies" with a call for tax reform, asking for simplified corporate tax policies and lower rates for repatriation.

Apple holds more than $100 billion in cash overseas and at current tax rates, it would have to pay a 35 percent corporate income tax to bring the money back to the United States, "a very high number," as Cook has said.

If a tax holiday is granted, the rate could be much lower. A repatriation holiday in 2004 allowed companies to bring cash to the U.S. at a rate of 5.25 percent, which could cut Apple's tax bill down significantly if it brought money back from overseas.

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Top Rated Comments

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81 months ago
I'm an Apple collector and user and also an Irish citizen. This issue of multinationals not paying much tax is a topical issue here.

See, we don't charge much tax in I order to attract many multinationals. As a result, almost every Silicon Valley company has it's HQ in Ireland today. We also are well educated as speak English.

However, the EU hate that we don't change them enough corporate tax. But, if we did charge them a normal amount, they would most likely leave. Then, we would get no tax and loose all the jobs and infrastructure these campanies bring with them.

I don't think we will see much change. It's not ideal, but it's about the best case scenario for Ireland right now.

Also, the manner in which Google and Apple "dodge" taxes in the US is 100% legal. It's the government that is to blame for any loss in tax. The multinationals can't be blamed for being as efficient as legally possible, within the most capatalist country on earth.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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81 months ago
A "tax holiday" simply means a reduction in the amount of tax. Getting a smaller chunk of a huge amount is better than getting nothing at all.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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81 months ago
Every international company does this. Apple is just an easy target for criticism.

If the U.S. wants this money in the U.S., all that needs to be done is simplify the tax system and close all the loopholes that allow this, but nobody in either party has the guts to do this, probably not ever in my lifetime.

Tim Cook's secretary probably pays a higher tax rate than him, but that's not his fault. It's the government's fault.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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81 months ago

An evil law is no law - just an edict, backed by violence.


All laws are backed by force.
If they weren't they would just be guidelines.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
81 months ago

In a fair world people (and countries) compete with each other.
I'm all for equality of opportunity , equality of result not so much.


Capitalism with a healthy drop of socialism here and there creates the most happy people IMO. Pure unregulated capitalism is 100% fair, and arguably so is communism. However, neither system creates a happy majority.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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81 months ago

woah... is that true ? " as U.S. Considers Tax Holiday for Cash Repatriation"


I don't know; perhaps somebody should write an article about it. :p
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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