European Commission says Apple owes $15 billion in taxes, Amazon owes $249 million

Greg S

Posts: 1,607   +442

Corporations paying their fair share of taxes is a highly debated political issue, but that is not stopping the European Commission from issuing notices to both Apple and Amazon with large tax bills. Google was fined $2.7 billion earlier this year by the EC for antitrust violations. Now, the EC is demanding Apple pay $15 billion in Ireland and that Amazon hands over $294 million in Luxembourg.

According to the European Commission, Amazon and Apple have received illegal tax benefits through their respective countries of operation. What is unusual about this attempt at collecting of taxes is that the countries themselves are being billed, not Apple or Amazon directly. Ireland does not want to lose Apple's investments into renewable energy data centers that began in 2015. Amazon received tax breaks that the EC considers illegal.

An Amazon spokesperson refutes, "We believe that Amazon did not receive any special treatment from Luxembourg and that we paid tax in full accordance with both Luxembourg and international tax law." To which the EC responded, "Member States cannot give selective tax benefits to multinational groups that are not available to others."

One of the problems with this case is that Amazon and Apple may not have actually violated any state or local laws. It is possible that the countries each tech company has made investments into offered tax benefits that were not permissible under European law. Whether the companies will end up paying for possible government mistakes remains to be seen. The cases are being turned over to EU courts for review.

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alabama man

Posts: 563   +354
Nice that they are actually doing something about companies avoiding taxes. I hate EU (not area but the union) but if they keep this up I will become a supporter.
 

Kenrick

Posts: 631   +401
This is not simple as that. This is politics at its best. obviously any country would want big companies to set up in their land. This is what Ireland did maybe they did introduce tax packages specifically for them. Who knows. Now, EU thinks they need a share in that and want all members to have equal opportunities. So even if EU said they have to pay, it is Ireland should be the one do the explaining to the EU. If amazon and apple will loss, expect them to get out of that country and find another. Every president/king/minister in the world would gladly welcome them in their country. Billions/millions of money going in is a big boost to the economy of a country. Who the hell don't want that except the keyboard warriors. EU is going downhill anyway - brexit anyone. Its USA, China, Russia, and Japan who is doing the right thing for their country this year.
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 1,986   +784
Two problems here, first being the EU charging Ireland 5% of their GDP in taxes, like really? Do you want them to leave the EU?

And second being Apple itself, more importantly the dream land Tim Cook lives in, unfortunately the article here doesn't go into great detail over the matter, TechRadar has more details, this I found hilarious: "Tim Cook, however, believes that Apple should only be taxed where its value is created -- I.e. only at the company's R&D sites in California." so in other words Tim believes he should be immune to taxes because although he sells his products outside of the US they are developed in the US, of course he leaves out that they're made in China...
 

Vrmithrax

Posts: 1,518   +552
Somehow I can't muster even an ounce of support for Ireland's delay in gathering up the money that the courts have already decreed Apple must pay. To me, it's a bit of a karma thing, watching Apple get zinged for making back-alley deals with other countries to be tax shelters so they don't have to pay in their own home country.
 
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Burty117

Posts: 3,689   +1,534
So the UK is leaving and now they need to find another income source? Realised big American Corporations were using certain EU states for tax purposes and now wants a chunk of that dough to help fill the gap.

Bare in mind it's been common knowledge for well over 10 years (probably way longer) that Ireland is great for corporate tax...
 
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MilwaukeeMike

Posts: 3,211   +1,455
Somehow I can't muster even an ounce of support for Ireland's delay in gathering up the money that the courts have already decreed Apple must pay. To me, it's a bit of a karma thing, watching Apple get zinged for making back-alley deals with other countries to be tax shelters so they don't have to pay in their own home country.
Karma yes - but wouldn't it better if America's tax laws weren't such that companies left? Even if Apple pays this it's not like that money is going to help anyone in America (where they should be paying their tax). Hopefully the American govt lowers their taxes for corporations since 20% of something is better than 35% of nothing.
 
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drjekelmrhyde

Posts: 342   +117
So the UK is leaving and now they need to find another income source? Realised big American Corporations were using certain EU states for tax purposes and now wants a chunk of that dough to help fill the gap.

Bare in mind it's been common knowledge for well over 10 years (probably way longer) that Ireland is great for corporate tax...
This been happening way before Briexit
 
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senketsu

It's a shame that any country gives for profit corporations 'special treatment' to get their business. Certainly no level playing field, but the problem with holding the line, so to speak, is that as soon as one country gives in, there goes the whole game. Is thinking this way being far too idealistic?
 
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