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

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euflag.pngA 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 the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

vmistery Avatar
62 months ago

Europe talks tough but its economy is not in great shape, and its politics are not that stable. Chasing away American companies will not help either.

Apple won't stop selling stuff in Europe even if it does have to start paying more tax, all that will happen is prices will go up, the aim is to level the playing field. There is no doubt that these companies should be paying fair tax in every country the same as local businesses otherwise competition suffers which is the bone I have with the current tax arrangements. The problem is really with the tax systems themselves though and not the companies and Europe with the rest of the world needs to start ensuring that global players and smaller players are all able to play on a fair field which isn't currently the case.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
a0me Avatar
62 months ago

Europe talks tough but its economy is not in great shape, and its politics are not that stable. Chasing away American companies will not help either.

Tax avoidance is costing the European and American economy dozens of billions of dollars, nobody is denying it. So let's not act surprised when our economy is "not in great shape."
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
512ke Avatar
62 months ago
Europe talks tough but its economy is not in great shape, and its politics are not that stable. Chasing away American companies will not help either.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nebo1ss Avatar
62 months ago

Europe is enfeebled and unable the compete on the global stage. Hence, legal action against innovative, ground-breaking American corporations.

Seem to remember the US jumping all over BP and exacting hugh fines, when in fact it was American company Halliburton hired by BP that totally messed up. Also look at the fines on European banks in the last two years and then come back and tell me about Europe bias.
[doublepost=1457377228][/doublepost]

I agree. If the EU says the Ireland law is invalid (or the one in Luxemburg) then the law needs to be changed in that country. However, the company that has been following the law on the books should not be held liable for all the years they were FOLLOWING THE LAW. If the law is changed, we should expect the company to then follow the new law or move countries. Anything outside of this seems punitive and not reasonable.

If you check what Apple is really doing you would be horrified. The corporate tax in the UK is 25 percent in Ireland it is 12.5 percent. You would think they are actually paying the 12.5 percent in Ireland. Facts show they pay next to nothing because the income from Ireland is then sent to some Caribbean offshore tax structured company.

I think it should be called Racketeering.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
H2SO4 Avatar
62 months ago
But;
"We don't use tax gimmicks," Cook said. "We pay all the taxes we owe, every single dollar. We don't just comply with the law, we comply with the spirit of the law.”
No Tim - nice but dim, you don’t. You’re a disingenuous liar. Disgusting.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
carrrrrlos Avatar
62 months ago
It’s going to be a busy year for Apple’s legal team.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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