Apple may have to repay billions of euros in taxes it managed to avoid during its presence in Europe, if the Brussels investigation finds the iPhone maker guilty of tax avoidance, reports the Financial Times.
Actually, this isn’t the first time Apple has faced such allegations: the company was in hot water previously when US senators accused it of using Ireland as a haven in the search for the “holy grail of tax avoidance”. Although Apple was cleared by the fall of those allegations, the report sparked further investigation and talk about Ireland’s tax practices.
It’s not new that both Ireland and Apple denied any wrongdoing:
Ireland denies wrongdoing and Luca Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, pictured below, tells the FT: “It’s very important that people understand that there was no special deal that we cut with Ireland. We simply followed the laws in the country over the 35 years that we have been in Ireland.”
Mr Maestri denies Apple ever made any threat to move jobs away from Ireland to secure a tax incentive when agreeing tax rulings with the Irish authorities in 1991 and 2007. “If the question is, was there ever a ‘quid pro quo’ that we were trying to strike with the Irish government – that was never the case,” he says. “We’ve always been very transparent with the Irish government that we wanted to be a good corporate citizen.”
All eyes are on the EU commission, which will publish its findings this week. If the commission finds evidence to prove the allegations, Apple will have to pay a hefty bill and it will also affect Ireland.
Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri says that corporate income taxes have increased more than 10 times since 2007. He also said: if countries change the tax laws, Apple pays taxes according to those laws.
While Apple is ready to show its tax bills for its Irish subsidiaries, the EU commission is concerned over “sweetheart” deals between the company and Irish government.
Apple isn’t the only company in the EU commission spotlight: voices say the Brussels investigation will likely extend to other US tech giants such as Google and Microsoft.