Apple agrees to pay over $15 billion to Ireland in back taxes

Ars Technica:

According to a top Irish official, Apple has agreed to to pay Ireland around $15.4 billion in back taxes.

“We have now reached agreement with Apple in relation to the principles and operation of the escrow fund,” Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told reporters before a meeting with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, per Reuters.

“We expect the money will begin to be transmitted into the account from Apple across the first quarter of next year.”

This seems to be such an odd story. Ireland doesn’t want the money. Apple doesn’t want to pay the money. But the rules of the EU dictate the settlement. And how do you go about transmitting $15.4 billion “into the account”? Paypal?

  • rick gregory

    uh… wire transfer.

  • CuJo YYC

    And how do you go about transmitting $15.4 billion “into the account”? Paypal?

    Pay of course.

    • LOL DOH! I should have known that. Maybe that’s why they pushed out the Apple Cash update early? 🙂

      • CuJo YYC

        Pay cash transfer via Messages. Welcome to (late) 2017.

  • freediverx

    Seriously? You don’t think something should be done to reign in corporate tax avoidance?

    • ThinkActive

      Apple already collects 20% and gives it to the EU on all sales. Called VAT. Imagine if the USA had a 20% non-negotiable sales tax!

      • RubenJ

        VAT is a consumer tax. Apple merely forwards that money, how does that have anything to do with corporate tax?

      • Amazing how little people know about this, yet they act as if they do. As the other person explained, this is VAT. Every business collects VAT and passes it on to governments. It comes out of consumers’ pockets, and companies pay nothing (other than what it costs to manage the paperwork).

    • The Cappy

      Then write laws that actually address the problem. What happened in this case is similar to what happened with the Greek bailouts. The Greek bailouts were expressly against the EU constitution, but the ministers were able to simply ignore the laws and do what they considered right at the time. While such things might sound good, it’s nevertheless an abrogation of the principle of the rule of law. Same in the Apple situation, where they looked at the laws and took advantage of them — which you might not like, but it’s honestly something we should all be able to do. If a nation’s laws advantage us, we shouldn’t we be able to take advantage of it? God knows when the laws are poorly written and disadvantage us, they’re fully applied. If the laws are bad, change them.

  • Wibble

    If you want to fix tax avoidance get out of the EU, the EU is half the bloody problem. The EU is why Starbucks can set up a coffee bean import business in Luxembourg, Sell the beans to Swizeland for processing and then pay their EU staff out of Leichensteien, so avoiding EU wide tax bill of near 4.5 billion euros.

    It is also why Amazon UK and Amazon France and Amazon Germany et al all operate of out Luxembourg … check your next invoice if you are EU based, it was technically sold from Amazon s.a.r.l , which is Luxembourg.

    The EU is an absolute mess that only benefits the huge multinationals like those above and google and facebook and uber and name another one.

    • ThinkActive

      The EU is indeed a shambles. No auditor has ever signed off the accounts. A black hole of funding and mis-spending.

    • BS. It also benefits me, a small business, who can perform cross-border services for companies in various countries without any hassle. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • ThinkActive

    Apple has NOT agreed to pay the money! They HAVE agreed for the money to go into an escrow account. There it will be in no-mans land until it goes back to Apple in three years time!

    • ThinkActive

      As Tim Cook said so succinctly: Total political crap.

      The EU found there was nothing illegal in the tax arrangements, so they create a new ball game after the whistle by calling it ‘unfair state aid’.

      Just as other countries in the EU do every day of the week to thousands of businesses who will instead pay their taxes on repatriation of profits to their country of origin. Unless you are Samsung of course.

      • You don’t know what you’re talking about. It is considered illegal state aid because Apple benefited from a special tax rate that other companies don’t get. It’s nothing new in the EU to prevent that sort of fiscal dumping.

        • pvr4me

          You mis-spelled “idiotic grandstanding from the EU”

  • “And how do you go about transmitting $15.4 billion “into the account”? Paypal?”

    I’m assuming this was sarcastic. You do realize that businesses transfer money electronically; they don’t send trucks full of cash, or checks with lots of zeros.

    • Jules Hobbes

      And I thought Apple Pay Cash was introduced just for that …

  • Alan Barrington-Hughes

    It’s shameful for any company to route their entire European profits through a country that will agree to an effective tax rate of 0.005% to 1% — How can they stand on stage a profess to be an ethical company when that goes on in the back rooms.

    • The law was strictly made to allow this. Remember who paid for the Bank’s mismanagement/shenanigans prior to 2007 in Ireland?

      It was the people, and with almost no fuss.

  • JimCracky

    I’m tired of everyone loving corporations. The only thing worse than the desires of multi0-nationals is the evil Trump administration.

    Corporations are not your friends.

  • David Martin