February 5, 2019
Apple revealed it has reached a deal with French authorities to pay back-dated taxes, reportedly in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Apple’s French division did not disclose the specific amount, but French media has reported it to be around 500 million euros, or $571 million U.S. “As a multinational company, Apple is regularly audited by fiscal authorities around the world,” explained Apple France in a statement. “The French tax administration recently concluded a multi-year audit on the company’s French accounts, and those details will be published in our public accounts.”
According to Reuters, “The French government is pushing for a European Union-wide tax on the world’s top digital and software companies.”
Apple settled a previous tax dispute with France last year. “In August 2016, the European Commission ruled that Apple had benefited from illegal tax benefits from 2003 to 2014,” TechCrunch adds. “Like many global companies, Apple has been accused of optimizing its corporate structure to lower the effective corporate tax rate in Europe.”
“While Apple appealed the decision back in 2016 saying that everything was legal, the company finished paying back the fine in September 2018. There are now $16.4 billion (€14.3 billion) sitting in an escrow account, waiting for the appeal.”
The French government recently announced it plans to tax tech companies in its country even if the firms report profits in other countries, if revenue is generated in France. “Other European countries could follow the same model,” notes TechCrunch.
Meanwhile, Europe continues to crack down on U.S. tech companies. Ireland is currently investigating tech companies including Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn and Twitter. Ireland’s data protection commissioner Helen Dixon suggests that Irish and EU investigations are “centered on the activities of very big Internet companies with tens and hundreds of millions of users.”