Apple Agrees Deal With France to Pay Back-Taxes

Apple has reached a deal with France to pay an undeclared amount of back-dated tax, according to multiple reports today.


Apple's French division confirmed the tax payment agreement to Reuters, but didn't disclose how much it had agreed to pay, although French media have suggest the sum is around 500 million euros ($571 million).
"As a multinational company, Apple is regularly audited by fiscal authorities around the world," Apple France said in a statement. "The French tax administration recently concluded a multi-year audit on the company's French accounts, and those details will be published in our public accounts."
France has been working diligently to stop tech companies like Apple from exploiting tax loopholes in the country. The loopholes are said to have allowed Apple to "minimize taxes and grab market share" at the expense of Europe-based companies.

French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the leaders behind the tax crackdown on international tech companies, with a goal of bringing a more unified corporate tax system across the nineteen euro area states.

Apple has had trouble with tax activist groups accusing the company of wide-scale tax evasion and occupying its Parisian retail stores. In February 2018, Apple sued the activist group "Attac" for its protests in stores, but the High Court of Paris denied Apple's request for an injunction that would have blocked the group from protesting.

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Apple Finishes Paying $15.3B in Back Taxes to Ireland, Prompting EU Regulators to Drop Lawsuit

Just over two years after the European Commission ruled that Apple was receiving illegal state aid from Ireland -- where it had reportedly paid less than 2 percent in taxes compared to the country's headline 12.5 percent corporate tax rate -- Apple has now paid back the entire 13.1 billion euros ($15.3 billion) it owed in back taxes (via Reuters).

The European Commission confirmed the payment this week, and furthermore said that EU antitrust regulators now plan to drop all legal action against Ireland. The EU had originally taken Ireland to court for failing to recover the $15.3 billion in tax due from Apple.

The confirmation of the withdrawal of litigation came from an email sent by European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso:
“In light of the full payment by Apple of the illegal State aid it had received from Ireland, Commissioner Vestager will be proposing to the College of Commissioners the withdrawal of this court action,” Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said in an email.
Although the EU gave its final ruling in August 2016 regarding Apple's tax loophole in Ireland, the regulatory body had first kicked off an investigation into Apple's tax arrangements back in 2014. The ruling eventually found that Apple was allowed to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 percent on its European profits in 2003, down to 0.005 percent in 2014. Specifically in 2014, Apple paid 0.005 percent tax on EU profits, which means that "For every million euros in profits, it (Apple) paid just €500 in taxes," said European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager at the time.

Apple and CEO Tim Cook were adamant that the ruling was based on "fundamental errors" and Cook referred to the tax avoidance accusations as "total political crap." He elaborated, stating that Apple pays all of the taxes it owes based on the laws of each country in which it operates. Likewise, the Irish government said it did not give favorable tax treatment to Apple and added that it "does not do deals with taxpayers."

Apple and Ireland eventually moved to appeal the ruling, but as things escalated the European Commission decided to open litigation against Ireland in October 2017 for its failure to procure Apple's back taxes. Eventually, Apple began paying the back taxes it owed around March 2018, and in a report from earlier in the year sources stated that payments were expected to finish around September.

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.


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Germany Says ‘No Decision Made Yet’ Regarding Taxation of Digital Service Companies Including Apple

Germany today denied a report that claimed the finance ministry had given up on plans to introduce more taxes on certain "internet giants," like Apple, Amazon, and Google. The taxes are related to a new proposal from the European Commission, which aims to make companies with "significant digital revenues" in Europe pay a three percent tax on such services in the EU (via Reuters).


While Germany "has long been cool" on the plans, a report from Bild recently claimed that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had "abandoned plans" to implement the taxes on digital companies. Citing confidential finance ministry documents, the report said this was because a "demonization" of these companies was seen as "not productive."

Denying the report, the German finance ministry says there has simply been "no decision made yet" on whether or not Germany will implement the digital tax. Speaking to Reuters, a finance ministry spokesperson explained that Germany is ultimately aiming for "fair taxation of internet companies." A final decision is expected by January 2019.
“There has been no decision made yet by the minister or the ministry on one or more instruments,” a finance ministry spokesman said when asked to comment on the Bild report.

“The debate is still ongoing, also among the finance ministers of Europe and the G7/G20 countries. The Federal Government still aims to ensure a fair taxation of internet companies,” the spokesman added.
For Apple, such a tax would affect the company's services segment, which remains to be an important revenue driver for the company. These include services like iTunes, the App Store, Mac App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Pay, and AppleCare.

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Apple Notifies Developers of Tax and Pricing Changes in Some Foreign App Stores

Apple on Wednesday began sending out emails to let developers know of changes to the price of App Store apps in several countries, owing to regional adjustments in value added tax (via 9to5Mac).

Apple told developers that since January 1 it had been collecting taxes on the sale of apps and in-app purchases in Armenia, Belarus, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

The new policy means Apple is administering collection and remittance of tax to authorities at a rate of 20 percent in Armenia and Belarus; 5 percent in Saudi Arabia; 18 percent in Turkey; and 5 percent in United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, existing tax collections dropped from 8 percent to 7.7 percent.

Apple also announced price updates this week for the following countries: Czech Republic, where prices will decrease for apps and in-app purchases (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions); India, where prices will decrease for apps and in-app purchases (including auto-renewable subscriptions); and Turkey, Nigeria, Belarus, and Armenia, where prices will increase for apps and in-app purchases (excluding auto-renewable subscriptions).

As expected, App Store developer proceeds will be adjusted and calculated based on the new tax prices. In addition to the tax and price change notices, Apple reminded developers they can adjust subscription pricing at any time to preserve prices for existing customers. Using iTunes Connect, developers can also check new prices in the Pricing and Availability section of My Apps.

Tags: App Store, tax

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