Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Apple Takes On EU In World's Biggest Tax Case: $14 Billion

Bloomberg News, Apple Takes on EU’s Vestager in Record $14 Billion Tax Fight:

Apple EUApple fights the world’s biggest tax case in a quiet courtroom this week, trying to rein in the European Union’s powerful antitrust chief ahead of a potential new crackdown on internet giants.

The iPhone maker can tell the EU General Court in Luxembourg that it’s the world’s biggest taxpayer. But that’s not enough for EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who said in a 2016 ruling that Apple’s tax deals with Ireland allowed the company to pay far less than other businesses. The court must now weigh whether regulators were right to levy a record 13 billion-euro ($14.4 billion) tax bill.

Apple’s haggling over tax comes after its market valuation hit $1.02 trillion last week on the back of a new aggressive pricing strategy that may stoke demand for some smartphones and watches. The company’s huge revenue -- and those of other technology firms -- have attracted close scrutiny in Europe, focusing on complicated company structures for transferring profits generated from intellectual property.

A court ruling, likely to take months, could empower or halt Vestager’s tax probes, which are now centering on fiscal deals done by Inc. and Alphabet Inc. She’s also been tasked with coming up with a “fair European tax” by the end of 2020 if global efforts to reform digital taxation don’t make progress.

Wall Street Journal, Apple Can’t Win Its $14 Billion European Tax Battle

New Cases, Tax, Tax News | Permalink


I have no sympathy for Apple, Amazon, Google and the rest. They knew they were using legal trickery to pay a tiny fraction of the taxes they ought to be paying. And tax collection is a zero-sum game. What they didn't pay had to be made up by people can companies with the tiniest percentage of their wealth. I only regret that their executives are unlikely to do prison time.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Sep 18, 2019 3:53:26 PM

Or, strip the tax exemption from those who practice it.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Sep 19, 2019 4:12:52 AM