Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Making the cheats pay

Apple is one of the world's biggest tax cheats, abusing accountants and strong-arming governments to avoid paying their fair share for civilisation. So I'm pleased to hear that the European Commission has overturned one of their sweetheart tax-cheat deals, and ordered them to pay the Irish government €13bn:

Apple has warned that future investment by multinationals in Europe could be hit after it was ordered to pay a record-breaking €13bn (£11bn) in back taxes to Ireland.

The world’s largest company was presented with the huge bill after the European commission ruled that a sweetheart tax deal between Apple and the Irish tax authorities amounted to illegal state aid.

The commission said the deal allowed Apple to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, the tech firm paid tax at just 0.005%. The usual rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5%.

“Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” said the European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, whose investigation of Apple’s complex tax dealings has taken three years.

The US is apparently outraged that a company which doesn't pay taxes in the US (because it piles its money up in the Cayman Islands to evade US taxes) might have to pay them elsewhere. As for the Irish government, they're such crawling toadies that they're saying they don't want the money (while of course inflicting grinding austerity on their people). Which I guess tells you whose pocket they're in.

Meanwhile, its worth remembering that Apple pays next to no tax in New Zealand, in part because they use Ireland as a tax haven. Isn't it time we made them pay their fair share?