Paris-based OECD urges international tax clampdown on Apple, other multinational corporations

“A sweeping overhaul of international corporate tax rules is urgently needed to stop savvy big companies escaping the payment of billions of euros to cash-strapped governments, the OECD said on Tuesday,” Leigh Thomas reports for Reuters.

“Governments face a growing outcry from voters to force big companies with extensive international business to pay more tax in wake of mounting evidence that many use differences between different countries’ rules to reduce their tax bill,” Thomas reports. “The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said multinational companies were increasingly reporting profits in different countries from where their revenues were generated to avoid taxes.”

Thomas reports, “British lawmakers are mulling changing the law following revelations about how companies such as Starbucks, Apple, Google and Amazon use complex inter-company transactions to cut their tax bills… France is also studying new ways to collect more tax from global internet companies, which often serve consumers in high-tax countries with subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions in order to reduce what they owe to governments.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Beware unintended consequences.

Related articles:
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Google, Apple, eBay shouldn’t pay taxes – people should pay taxes – November 25, 2012
So how much did Apple really pay in taxes? – November 1, 2012
Apple’s showdown with the U.S. government over taxes on offshore cash – July 13, 2012
Apple‘s $74 billion tops list of U.S. tech companies’ overseas cash – July 9, 2012
Apple’s dividend move puts spotlight on foreign cash holdings, repatriation tax reform – March 20, 2012
Apple: Good start; and what about the overseas cash? – March 19, 2012
Apple’s foreign cash hoard piles up: $54 billion and rapidly growing – January 11, 2012
Senator John McCain eyes Apple’s $54 billion overseas cash pile – November 3, 2011
Google joins Apple in push for U.S. repatriation tax holiday – October 3, 2011
Apple lobbies Obama for tax holiday, wants to bring overseas bounty home – August 24, 2011
U.S Senate Democrat Schumer allies with Apple, other multinationals on repatriation tax talks – June 21, 2011
U.S. companies push for tax break on foreign cash – June 20, 2011
Apple, Oracle, Duke Energy, others organize lobbying blitz for tax holiday – February 17, 2011


  1. It’s going to be rather tricky for some politicians to loudly condemn corporations minimising their tax liability when they are personally limiting their own tax liability by equally dubious, but still legal ploys.

    1. Loopholes. If they’re legal, people/companies/politicians will exploit them. If they don’t exist, large companies will make certain that politicians create those loopholes. Apple is one of the best at using these loopholes all over the world. Just like many other large corporations they do this to avoid paying tax in the United States. Remember, you’re not sitting in the box with Michelle Obama tonight. That will be Tim Cook CEO of Apple.

      I agree with you that envy is an ugly thing. If people aren’t envious or unhappy with mutual funds or hedge funds as their favorite stock-price shoots straight up, it’s wrong to be envious and upset when the price goes back down. If it’s not manipulation when you make money going up why is it manipulation as the stock goes down? And why didn’t you sell at the top? Surely you knew it was manipulation then? Right? Yes envy, it’s not a very nice thing.

  2. These misguided socialists/statists will tax themselves into oblivion. They will become backwaters until they learn what the rest of us already know.

    This fad of being enamored with government programs will end as soon as the naive experience a government program or two. Inefficient, ineffective, and downright wasteful (of money and people’s potential) are the hallmarks of typical government welfare programs.

    The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan

    1. If Ronald Regan, with a Alzheimer’s addled brain, can figure it out, what the hell is wrong with all the liberal/socialists?

      It’s brain damage, I tell you, brain damage.

    2. Give me a break. The multinationals line the pockets of the local politicians to rig the tax codes to allow them to minimize their tax burdens. The wealthy individuals do the same. I can’t believe that anyone with half a brain believes that corporations are exemplary citizens when it comes to thinking about the welfare of the individual in any country. Pay the people more and they’ll spend more. What goes around comes around. Otherwise, you will eventually have rebellion among the masses. It’s as simple as that. Keep taking their money and give them nothing in return and you will have two classes. The very wealthy, and those who have nothing and no hope of ever having anything. Close all the frigging tax loopholes, both personal and corporate. But that will never fly as long as there are people making and holding on to money given the status-quo.

      1. Outside of the TRULY in need, how about the individual of any country care for their own welfare instead of leaving it up to the State subjugating others whose “success” didn’t come by way of aid from the State.

        As Benjamin Franklin opined, “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

        1. Have you noticed that the cost of health care in this country is absurdly high and going higher? Do you know how many people who are employed by Walmart that can’t afford the premiums on their health insurance because Walmart makes up their schedules such that they hire as many part-time employees as possible so that they reduce their health insurance costs? What would you suggest for the person who has a 6 year old child that has a rare form of heart problem, causing her heart to stop beating, where care for that child costs $42,000 for a week in the hospital? Would you tell them to get a better job, or suggest that they let their daughter die? There are people in this world who are unable through no fault of their own to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Meanwhile, the 4 Walton siblings, who own Walmart, hold the wealth of the bottom 40% of the population of the U.S. I don’t claim that anyone else has any right to the money that they earned, but I do think that their ability to earn that money and hold on to it will eventually have consequences, in this country and in others. Why do you think people are so staunchly opposed to any kind of gun control?

          1. I don’t think anyone disagrees with your example. But it’s a pretty narrow example. What drives most conservatives crazy is the hand out to people who are not employable by virtue of their choice. If you had to pass a drug test to get all of the government benefits such as unemployment, health care, food stamps, welfare, etc what a significant impact it would make. I know of many employers in desperate need of employees that send in 100 candidates for drug tests hoping to get 35 that pass. It seems to me that you should have to prove you are in compliance with the law if you want to benefit from the government.

            I have to submit to drug testing to get and keep my job. It’s a choice to light up that joint or stick that needle or inhale that powder. I’m tired of paying for people who make the wrong choice.

            1. You don’t suppose this might have anything to do with the fact that corporate America is interested only in reducing employees hours and benefits and increasing share-holder value, do you? Increasing productivity, eliminating human labor where possible? Forget liberalism. Unbridled capitalism rewards the haves at the expense of the have-nots. It’s really as simple as that. Were you blind to what happened in 2008-2009? Have you not heard of greed? I’m as Rand-ian as the next guy, but there needs to be an understanding that the way this ends is not good for any of us. Pay a living wage to those that you do employ. Stop rewarding corporate greed. It’s easy to do. If you have money, buy from socially responsible companies.

            2. I dont know what the idiot fetish with drug testing is. I’ve never been drug tested in my life and have worked full time for the 19 years since I was handed my JD. My brother in law is a mortgage broker and has taken everything that can be taken. Our buddy owns and manages his business he started out of college and which has been supporting his wife, daughter and pot dealer for a decade. My sister in law is a nurse and nitrous huffing fan.

              Sure, holding down a job and smoking crack or pcp might be pretty difficult, but for most of the drug use caught on testing the only thing that effects employability is the test itself.

        2. “…how about the individual of any country care for their own welfare instead of leaving it up to the State…”

          But then, Benjamin Franklin had not anything like the current systems that exist in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Holland etc. — Countries where far more is done to support the general population than in the US and where there is better life expectancy, better healthy-life expectancy, much lower rates of infant mortality, much less abject poverty and more happy people.

          Franklin was mind-bogglingly brilliant – but it doesn’t mean everything he said was correct. If that quote really worked, everybody in Brazil – where little is done for the poor – should be rich.
          What is the point of a country? Seriously. If it’s not to make things better for EVERYBODY, we might as well dissolve the whole thing and go back to stone-age style micro tribal groups.

          re Walmart
          “I don’t claim that anyone else has any right to the money that they earned…”

          And there is one of the key fallacies — they didn’t EARN the money. Society is STRUCTURED and ARRANGED so that those are good at certain skills can “earn” more reward than they could spend in ten thousand lifetimes. It’s not “natural”, arising spontaneously from the world we live in. It’s just an arrangement of rules — that ends up inordinately benefitting a few people.

          It’s way past time that those who have accumulated such vast power and wealth saw it would actually be better for them too to have a populace that was better paid, more secure and happier. Their sociopathic greed and mindless self-centerdness is truly atavistic and destructive — and it belongs on the same scrap heap of history as feudalism.

          1. I think you’re right Seamus, ‘earned’ may have been a poor choice of words. The Waltons clearly did not earn their windfall the same way that an hourly wage earner, or a salaried employee earns their pay. Unfortunately, I think it is a moot point. They have it, and the 40% that don’t, will see only as much of it (or as little of it) as society allows. Think of it, the battle in NYC right now is to raise minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50. That’s $68/day for a regular work day. And that’s at the higher rate. And that’s what Liberals want. It’s mind-boggling.

    3. …”The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

      These words may be terrifying to a politically conservative American. But outside of that fairly small group, most people, when in need of help, very much appreciate such help from the government.

      While private sector, as well as non-profit sector, tends to do a pretty decent job of helping when help is needed (disasters, conflict, etc), their help is often constrained by some criteria not related to the task at hand (religious, political, racial, other kinds of matters of policy). In the developed and democratic world, government help is universally unrestricted, unconditional and, well, universal. American government tends to be somewhat less efficient at this than some other ones out there (especially when it comes to providing health, retirement, disability or other essential services), but is still much more universal than anything else out there.

        1. Mine is not much to talk about; it falls into the group of “Economies in Transition” (the Balkans, former Soviet republics, etc), and I don’t think it can be invoked as an example for anything.

          However, most countries of the EU tend to be a good example for what reliable and generous government services can provide to the society.

      1. Those 18 minor hikes were the price Liberals demanded in exchange for doing things, like modernizing the military, that actually benefitted America, you childish, talking-point-spewing loser.

  3. So, what small island country should Apple buy and employ the inhabitants (or evict with compensations)? The money Apple saves profitably running a corporate private government would be huge. All employees are there with working visas and retirement accounts. When you retire with your money, you go back home or where ever you want. Or could be a fleet of custom aircraft carriers. All payments to Apple will be in gold, diamonds, …

  4. I am curious, what exactly would be the unintended consequence of collecting more taxes that now. If I’m not mistaken, Apple currently has most of its accumulated warchest (over $130 Billion) overseas. Paying higher taxes would have reduced that warchest by a fairly small rate; otherwise, it is difficult to imagine what other “unintended consequences” could there possibly be.

    1. The unintended consequences that MDN refers to are probably not Apple related, but for the many OTHER smaller companies that do business in low-tax jurisdictions. By trying to correct for Apple, Google, Amazon and others, you also impact many, many other companies. That’s the unintended consequence.

      1. The primary reason for the economy of an entire country of Greece being in dire crisis is tax evasion. Of all the developed countries, Greece is leader, by far, in unpaid taxes. If everyone in Greece were to pay the taxes they are supposed to pay, the country would solve all of their problems. Unfortunately, the economy has learned, over the decades, to work within the realities, in which taxes don’t have to be paid, as there is little to no enforcement. Enforcing those taxes would submerge small businesses. So, the argument goes, you simply can’t begin enforcing taxes out there, or you’ll put people out of business. Well that may be the case, but it just might not be the case as well. Many businesses are resilient and creative. A predicament such as additional tax burden motivates them in the right direction. And there is no doubt, enforcement of taxes in Greece (and additional tax burden in the rest of EU) will likely force those operating on the margins to close. But the tax revenue generated by that additional tax burden (or proper enforcement in Greece) would more than compensate for the lost jobs at the bottom of the scale. And in a fiscally healthier economy, those lost jobs would soon be re-claimed anyway.

        I have no doubt (and this has been confirmed and proven quite a few times in the developed world outside America), improving government social programmes, especially when economy is weak, creates jobs, reduces poverty and improves livelihoods of all.

  5. once these heartless, soulless looners ceremoniously kill all the golden geese, the public outcry by the ever-increasing multitude of the entitled for more blood letting will result in a grotesque public-square forest of staves mounted with their own bloodied, oddly quizzical heads.

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