The European Commission recently rebuked Ireland over more than $15 billion in uncollected taxes from Apple, one year after the Commission ordered Apple to pay.
European Union regulators are fighting many dragons — from within and without — from the disruptive unknowns of Brexit and the ongoing non-negotiations on trade, industry and immigration, to the battles it is having with international corporations trying to dodge both taxation and oversight.
Apple has the largest offshore cash hoard of any U.S. company stashing money abroad, and the company has tax issues with the U.S. as well as the EU. But the relationship between business and government is very different between the two.
The perception of corporate cooperation is also different between member states of the EU, forcing regulators to not only police corporations, but also their member states.
The European Commission recently rebuked Ireland over 13 billion euros (over $15 billion) of uncollected taxes from Apple, one year after the Commission ordered Apple to pay. The EU ruled that Ireland gave unfair advantage to Apple for regional gain at the expense of the EU as a whole. This is in line with the EU’s actions to squelch shady deals between member states and aggressive international conglomerates.
The EU sees Ireland’s lack of action as being subversive to fair international trade as well as collusion to evade taxes on the part of Apple, for favorable treatment at the detriment of member countries. The Commission said the deadline for Ireland to implement its decision had been Jan. 3 this year and that, until the aid was recovered, the company continued to benefit from an illegal advantage. Apple is appealing the case.
This dance between Ireland, the Commission and Apple has been going on for more than a year, and the parties are rumored to be in the process of creating an escrow account with one or more investment managers to handle it. Reports state Ireland has been working on exactly how much tax is due, and expects to be finished by spring.
— Alix Paultre is a European correspondent for EE Times.