Indian company Sun group law firm figures as Appleby's second-largest client globally
08 November, 2017, 01:09
Margrethe Vestager said she had spoken to Apple about the controversial tax structures highlighted in the Paradise Papers. The latest figures indicate that since Apple's reorganisation of its Irish companies this sum has increased 84%, though Apple will not confirm which of its foreign subsidiaries own this cash.
Together with Apple Operations International and Apple Sales International, the company made up the three Irish firms criticised by United States senators in 2013 for being "ghost companies".
The Cupertino, California-based company said it was the largest taxpayer in the world, paying $35 billion in corporate income tax over the last three years, including $1.5 billion in Ireland.
- Technology giant Apple shifted much of its offshore wealth from Ireland to the Jersey tax haven in the British Isles to adapt to the tightening of Irish tax laws in 2015.
According to numerous reports, including one from the New York Times, Apple moved two parts of its company to Jersey from Ireland in order to take advantage of the fact that Jersey typically does not tax corporate income. It's believed that one of those companies holds the majority of Apple's massive stash of cash on hand, which is up to $268.9 billion according to the company's most recent quarterly earnings report.
Apple is one of many U.S. technology companies that have benefited from stashing cash overseas.
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Apple didn't immediately respond to CNET's request for comment but told ICIJ and the other investigative media outlets that "the changes we made did not reduce our tax payments in any country". "There was no tax benefit for Apple from this change and, importantly, this did not reduce Apple's tax payments or tax liability in any country". That maneuver lets the companies avoid paying hefty taxes they could face by bringing the cash back to the US.
The 13 million documents that make up the so-called Paradise Papers were leaked - some say hacked - from specialist law firm Appleby, which has an office on Jersey.
"There was no tax benefit for Apple from this change and, importantly, this did not reduce Apple's tax payments or tax liability in any country", Apple said, stating it had "paid billions of dollars in US tax on the investment income of this subsidiary".
An Apple spokesman told the New York Times that the company told regulators in the U.S. and European Commission of the reorganisation of its Irish subsidiaries at the end of 2014, and said the moves did not reduce its tax payments in any country.
"I have been asking for an update on the arrangement made by Apple, the recent way they have been organized, in order to get the feeling whether or not this is in accordance with our European rules but that remains to be seen", Vestager told a news briefing at an global tech summit in Lisbon. In 2014, Apple paid a tax rate of 0.005 percent.
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