APPLE HAS AGREED to pay Ireland back nearly $15bn in unpaid taxes, putting a tiny dent in Cupertino's massive cash-filled coffers.
Given that CEO Tim Cook harps on about the need for tech companies to have a social conscious, you'd have thought Apple would be the last company to do some imaginative accounting and channel its cash around the world to avoid paying hefty tax rates. But you'd be wrong.
Apple has used Ireland and its corporation-friendly tax rates to filter its European profits through the emerald isle, thereby avoiding heavier US and European tax rates.
However, Ireland, likely fed up of corporations taking the mick, decided to start bringing its corporate tax rates more in line with those of other nations, but it didn't ask Apple for any back taxes.
Then the European Commission got curious about such tax avoidance and ruled in August 2016 that Cupertino effectively had state aid in that it was paying less tax than other businesses, and that was such actions were illegal.
From there the Commission demanded Apple pay back the tax it had managed to bypass, even though Ireland wasn't too fussed. Presumably, it didn't want to put other businesses off from setting up on its shores.
Despite insisting it's in the right, Apple agreed to pay back the $14.6bn it owes, but will likely do so begrudgingly as it plans to appeal the Commission's ruling.
"We have a dedicated team working diligently and expeditiously with Ireland on the process the European Commission has mandated," Apple told The Wall Street Journal.
"We remain confident the General Court of the EU will overturn the Commission's decision once it has reviewed all the evidence."
Given that Cupertino has apparently some $200bn plus of cash in reserve, a $15bn payout is but a drop in the ocean of money Apple has, which raises the question why it would bother arguing with the EU, after all that's not exactly going well for Britain. µ
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