EU ministers line up to take tax bites out of Apple

“European Union finance ministers are lining up to get a slice of Apple’s tax revenue following a controversial ruling last month by the European Commission, which found the US technology giant had vastly underpaid its corporate taxes for more than a decade,” Deutsche Welle reports.

“Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem appeared to be first in line, warning Apple on Saturday to ‘get ready’ to pay up. His comment came after a two-day meeting of his EU counterparts in the Slovak capital, Bratislava,” DW reports. “His British counterpart Philip Hammond concurred, saying the EU was keen ‘to make sure that international corporations pay the right tax at the right place.'”

“Other EU countries, including Austria, Italy and France, are following the case closely, and expressing interest in a possible payout,” DW reports, “according to Austria’s Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling, who spoke on the sidelines of the two-day summit.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This is great because government almost always spends money so much more wisely and efficiently than those who earned it.

(read as if you’re drowning in an ocean of caustic sarcasm)

SEE ALSO:
Former EU competition commissioner: Vestager claim that Apple owes back taxes an incorrect use of EU law – September 2, 2016
Irish government to fight EU on Apple tax – September 2, 2016
Treasury accuses EU of trying to steal U.S. tax revenues with Apple decision – September 1, 2016
Irish residents opposed to EU’s tax demand of Apple – September 1, 2016
Apple Inc. pushes back against EU tax grab – September 1, 2016
Apple may repatriate billions of dollars next year after new U.S. President takes office – September 1, 2016
U.S. tax code allows for dramatic retaliation against EU overreach in Apple case – September 1, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook on EU tax demand: ‘No one did anything wrong here and Ireland is being picked on… It is total political crap’ – September 1, 2016
U.S. Treasury: The European Commission’s retroactive tax demands on Apple are unfair – August 30, 2016
EU demands Apple pay massive $14.5 billion in taxes plus interest – August 30, 2016
U.S. government warns EU: Do not hit Apple with a massive back tax bill – or else – August 25, 2016

21 Comments

  1. Apple should pull out of the EU and reduce their activities to the bare minimum required to maintain brain their business. Operate out of Switzerland, for example, for their European presence. Then the EU bandits can use their loot to pay out jobless benefits…google, etc follow suit. The EU is dead and they know it

    1. Won’t work…retail business conducted outside of the EU umbrella will be subject to other taxes/fees/tariffs that will cost more in the long run.

      As distasteful as most people find taxation, it is a necessary function of government. When governments attempt to retroactively change a decade of Irish law, however, they have overstepped their bounds. I do not object to changing the tax laws going forward, but I do object to any penalties retroactive beyond the start of the EU investigation three years ago.

      There is one very important aspect of this situation to keep in mind…taxes are paid on profits. That means that Apple is making money – significant amounts of money – in the EU. So this knee-jerk reaction to “pull out” would be highly detrimental to Apple and highly beneficial to its competitors. It is not an option.

      1. It is difficult. But how can any US or foreign country trust their tax bill now? You don’t know if what you’re offered as a rate is allowed until some such time as the EU decides to sit down and think it over, years after the event.

    2. hahahahahahahhahahahahahah
      My report. Not a native speaker and drunk atm sorry for typos. live in EU.
      these loser countries in trouble like Italy, Spain, Greece or whatever are now demanding their share of “apple tax”. lol. they where never able to create their own tech success stories, and they look like beggars. loser pricks. what is the best tech success story from EU? Only one – Spotify. LOL. Another one from my own country is Skype and Transferwise. But honestly. EU is not able to create successful tech startups, only sucksessful ones. I gave it many thoughts and my diagnose is this. Europeans are afraid to fail. In silicon valley if you fail, nobody cares. Angry birds creator fail 40+ times before – so what? If you fail in europe every single idiot will point it to you to the rest of your life. Funny fact. All Western Europe is ball-less POS countries making fun about USA while in easter EU we are used to live in crises and we hate socialism and communism. Real capitalism can be found here not ion west EU. Yeah they had their advantage since the WW2 when USA saved their sorry asses and now what? Making fun about USA and hoping USA will save them from Russia if needed? The biggest supporters and fans of USA are in eastern EU not in west. I have been in USA twice by business and fun. Scored US chicks. Love the country and people much more than EU. Could not get the green card last time. I know I will succeed next. Never ever going to beg, will buy more AAPL instead.

  2. And the MDN-Idiots come out of the woodwork again.

    If you di business in a country then you pay tax on the profits you make there.

    But Apple, Google, FaceBook etc simply declare a non-existent pie in the sky headquarter that gets all the profit.

    Can you do that too? Declare a pie in the sky company that is located in no country and transfer all your earnings there? And thus pay no tax?

    Apple likes to paint itself differently from Google. As having integrity. Being trustworthy. Environmentally resposible. Socially engaged.

    Well, seems they are not so different after all.

    I pay my tax without complaining because I see the need for schools, police, hospitals, infrastructure.

    Apple is behaving like scumbags.

    I’m very disappointed.

    1. Apple paid the tax a GOVERNMENT asked for. If you can’t take an IRS CONTRACT then what do you do? Who do you ask.

      The tax rate in the EU is now not 30% or 40%, its RANDOM %, made-up-as-we-go-along %, backdated random years at will.

      You paid your tax, but what if the EU decided your tax was at the wrong rate, your government the wrong rate and should have been 10% higher for the last 10 years? And now you owe it?

      I think you’d claim you paid what the duly appointed authorities asked you to pay.

      1. My usual overall point:

        If anyone is telling you they know “TheTruth”, you can count on them NOT. We never know everything about anything, especially ‘TheTruth’ experts. Don’t ever mistake me or anyone else for any kind ‘TheTruth’ expert.

  3. Sorry, but then change the laws and how can you change rules and laws retroactively? How would you like if the jurisdiction where you currently pay taxes approaches you and tells you that they think you should have been paying twice the taxes you paid so far and slap you with backtaxes? The EU is broke and they are out to get whatever they can it utter desperation

  4. I really did not get the idea that EU ministers are lining up for a share of the taxes that from my understanding would go to Ireland if (and that’s a big if) Apple and Ireland lose on appeal. That’s years away.

    The dutch finance minister warns Apple to get ready to pay up while they were looking at ways to harmonize tax rules for foreign firms. That seems to be more the core of the topic from the EU’s point of view in the article and to me that’s something geared more to servicing a horrendously large bureaucracy that is a plight the world over.

    Mind you it really doesn’t matter. MDN has pointed out several times recently that anyone who does business in the EU is insane. Fortunately there is a whole market of those types across the pond lining up to do so.

    1. Of course the last sentence of the article does say that “other EU countries could also claim a slice of the 13 billion euros which, with interest, could reach 19 billion euros” but that was in the original decision.

      It was a cliff hanger!

    2. As has been said no one has a problem with changes going forward and going backward to me is outright criminal. They need to have their hands slapped sticking it into yesterday’s tax cookie jar.

      You are telling businesses that the authority in any given country can change their minds and attack taxes going back years. In the end it will hurt those country’s and they will lose far more than they gain when multiplied by the many companies doing business overseas, not only Apple.

      1. With all due respect peterblood71 but this is something I’ve heard from Apple and folks at the forum, that they are revising the rules. I think that’s ludicrous.

        Where exactly is the source of that?

        From what I’ve also been reading they are going back to the original complaint, I think circa 1993. Now if Apple was supposed to pay a % of tax and it’s been found that they haven’t been paying a % of tax, I think that’s fair game.

        In other words, if Apple has been skipping on taxes according to the laws back then, then they should pay up. If they are changing the rules and want to retroactively go after subsequent taxes, that’s totally nuts. I’ve not heard a good source for the second possibility.

        Of course I’m on Apple’s side on this, and it should be determined in a court of law, which I believe is going to be the process.

        1. If Ireland (or any EU country) makes a good faith deal they should stick to it, EU bylaws notwithstanding, gray or otherwise. Ireland should have already vetted all legal tax agreements by their other EU agreements. (I can’t believe their lawyers would’ve been this stupid if so.) If they are in an EU disagreement or have broken the rules then they should be the ones held accountable. But of course it’s hard and pointless to penalize yourself when there’s a loaded easy corporate victim waiting nearby. This is bad for business making any agreement with an EU member nation suspect to fraud. Ireland making this agreement (instead of the “correct” one) didn’t give Apple an opportunity to react and make other plans, or agree to whatever the tax rate terms should’ve been. At any rate I hope on appeal this is thrown out. But then we we’ve hoped for a lot of obvious things (eBooks, Samsung trade dress infringements) in Apple legal cases that haven’t gone their way.

          1. Your reply makes a lot of sense. If Ireland broke the law, then Ireland should pay. If Apple broke the law then Apple should pay but just what exactly what law, “from back then” was broken or is it just a loophole that has been discovered, or a desire to make it political and harmonize the taxes across the EU.

            I’m still no clear on it entirely, get it into a course of law and as you say, toss if out if it is as ludicrous as it seems.

            I know what you are saying about the other cases, but hopefully Europe being a more mature and sensible area will come up with a proper demonstration of justice, but I’m not holding my breath.

            Anyway thumbs up for you reply.

  5. If you don’t live in Europe you probably should not form an opinion yet because it’s quite complex. I have worked in Luxembourg. Luxembourg is dotted with all kinds of little corporate offices with one two or three people in there that are set up as the European corporate headquarters. It is the Delaware of the European Union. Apple funnels all of its cost of creating software through the Irish office no matter where the software is created. As there is no income tax for any author of any creative material Apple can funnel many things through the software company. In Europe you were not allowed to find loopholes in the law to skirt taxing responsibilities. The laws the same in the United States. If your family home is in Nevada but you work in California you must pay California income tax even if your wife works of Nevada pays no income tax because she works at Nevada. What needs to be decided by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is whether or not the European commission has authority over taxation. I believe the answer will be that they do not. As a result there may be a new ruling which the European commission would love that would make it possible for the European commission to tax corporations on there worldwide earnings or at least their Europewide earnings. That would be a very similar situation to what Washington DC enjoys. Don’t look for Apple to be moving to the UK anytime soon. The European Union members are in no mood to have any kind of sweet deal with the UK after the Brexit vote. Look for France to make special rules and laws to attract as much of the financial services industry from London as possible because Paris actually has the largest center of corporate activity in Europe in La Défense and is already number two in banking operations just behind the UK.

    The world is going to change fairly radically for business in the next few years in Europe.

    1. Delaware corporations still pay Federal taxes.. Perhaps then the EU should claim a ‘Federal level’ tax also which would still allow all member countries (like States in the U.S.) to charge their own taxes.

  6. My understanding of the situation is that NO country in the EU would benefit from scamming Apple out of taxes EXCEPT Ireland. As such, the notion that the sharks are gathering in a ring around the Ship of Apple so they can get a BITE is ridiculous. Instead, this is ENTERTAINMENT for haters. That’s nothing new for Apple, who is constantly at odds with those who insist upon doing things WRONG.

    1. Entertainment for the Haters.

      Why, that strikes me as emblematic of almost the entire internet, at least the caked-on streak of grease and slime blackening its undercarriage.

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