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EU The Almighty Buck Apple

EU Takes Ireland To Court For Not Claiming Apple Tax Windfall (reuters.com) 192

Philip Blenkinsop, reporting for Reuters: The European Commission said on Wednesday it was taking Ireland to the European Court of Justice for its failure to recover up to 13 billion euros ($15.3 billion) of tax due from Apple, a move labeled as "regrettable" by Dublin. The Commission ordered the U.S. tech giant in August 2016 to pay the unpaid taxes as it ruled the firm had received illegal state aid, one of a number of deals the EU has targeted between multinationals and usually smaller EU states. "More than one year after the Commission adopted this decision, Ireland has still not recovered the money," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, adding that Dublin had not even sought a portion of the sum.
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EU Takes Ireland To Court For Not Claiming Apple Tax Windfall

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  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @04:09PM (#55310789) Homepage

    in back taxes as it had been given an unfair tax deal in Luxembourg [bbc.co.uk]. OK: Amazon saved some tax, but that saving allowed it to under-cut its rivals, some of who have been put out of business - will there be any compensation for those competitors, the cost of which could dwarf the back-tax bill ? I suspect that the answer is no in which case Amazon's dodgy dealings have been highly profitable and will continue to be so in the future -- as it has fewer competitors.

    • Amazon saved some tax, but that saving allowed it to under-cut its rivals, some of who have been put out of business

      If the tax saving allowed Amazon to undercut its competitor's prices, then the money is still in Luxembourg or the EU. Their customers still have it (or they spent it, in which case the money helped other businesses). If, as insinuated, Amazon took all the 250m Euro it saved to the bank rubbing their hands in glee, then there was no price savings for the customers, and thus no negative con

      • You are missing a piece, Amazons shenanigans put some EU competition out of business which led to people losing their jobs which also means less taxes paid in the EU.

        So, no matter how you try to spin it - it was a net loss for EU.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      If you were one of those competitors it's not clear who you might sue... The government of Luxembourg negotiated the deal, but they could argue that they reasonably believed to be to legal and point to similar deals in Ireland as evidence. Amazon would probably argue that it's not their job to understand the finer points of tax law when offered a deal by a government, which is of course bullshit because you can bet their accountants were the ones who suggested it.

  • So if Ireland doesn't get tax money, and benefits from having some folks employeed are way below whatever they'd get from this tax, why would they even consider such a weird move?

    Other than someone in the government getting something from Apple...

    • by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @04:25PM (#55310949)
      The answer is simple: as part of the EU treaty they signed, they can offer low tax rates overall, but their separate deal with Apple produced such low tax rates for Apple that the EU deemed it to be "state aid" to Apple, which is against EU rules. Zat help?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @04:51PM (#55311135)

        EU as a whole, and most member and quasi-member nations, believe in social welfare, not corporate welfare. The US is different in this regard. Americans are against social welfare, but very much in favor of corporate welfare, under the misguided belief that this will translate into jobs.

        It doesn't of course. Less taxes means more profits but more profits doesn't lead to more jobs. But since Americans are against social welfare, they have a comparatively poor public education system, so it's hardly surprising that the average american voter can not understand much more than rudimentary economics. Just look at how much they confuse the concept of a government budget with that of their own personal budget. Utterly senseless.

        • Don't know why you posted "AC" but this is a very accurate description...

          • Don't know why you posted "AC" but this is a very accurate description...

            Russian trolls don't care which side of an argument they provide. Their goal is just to create polarization and argument. If they don't have accounts, they can't be shown to be Russian trolls, and can't have their accounts banned.

        • EU as a whole, and most member and quasi-member nations, believe in social welfare, not corporate welfare. The US is different in this regard. Americans are against social welfare, but very much in favor of corporate welfare, under the misguided belief that this will translate into jobs.

          It doesn't of course. Less taxes means more profits but more profits doesn't lead to more jobs. But since Americans are against social welfare, they have a comparatively poor public education system, so it's hardly surprising that the average american voter can not understand much more than rudimentary economics. Just look at how much they confuse the concept of a government budget with that of their own personal budget. Utterly senseless.

          You left out that if you lower the taxes which means more profits those profits get exported, instantly, to tax havens like Panama using creative bookkeeping methods where they further increase the estimated 29 trillion dollars kept in such tax havens. The US state of Kansas is a good example of this, they forged ahead with an experiment in massive tax cutting for the wealthy based on the notion that it would cause an increase in investment in the local economy and shrink government... it didn't. Rich peopl

    • They get tax from those that work at Apple. Maybe some politicians are getting sidekicks. Ireland get tax by letting Apple pay almost no tax in all of Europe. And Ireland takes more money from EU than it pays. Of course most of the other EU countries are not happy about it.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      Ireland's economy is built on enticing tech by enabling tax evasion and avoidance.

      So if they don't win this fight, there's no reason for tech to go to Ireland anymore - the only reason they get this tax money is because tech is there, so whilst they can get this windfall, tech will leave and there'll be no more money afterwards. Ireland is playing the long game.

      But of course, it's also cheating at the game, so it's really a problem Ireland has created itself. Similarly Luxembourg and Switzerland are parasit

  • ... we'll asses the taxes.

    In related news: Announcing our corporate tax rebate program.

    -- Ireland

    • Ummm... Ireland is getting sued precisely because they are claiming Ireland's uncollected taxes are a corporate tax rebate program. Corporate tax rebates are a form of government assistance which are against EU rules.

  • So the EU sues Ireland and the EU prevails - then what? Companies get shut down for evading taxes. You don't exactly shut down a country.
  • What are the charges against Ireland? Does EU really have the power to sue a state for not collecting taxes? That would be funny since EU commission president Junker is an expert at that.
  • If you've got a conscience, don't buy one. If you don't, buy one.

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