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.
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