AMITIAE - Wednesday 21 October 2015

Cassandra: EU Ruling Casts a Shadow on Apple's Dublin Tax Deal

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By Graham K. Rogers


An EU ruling aimed at Starbucks and FIAT-Chrysler ordered those corporations to pay several million Euros in back taxes. Saying that companies need to pay their fair share, omits the point that the companies make use of legal loopholes that are written into tax laws created by elected politicians; then the politicians blame them for using the laws.

US politicians went after several companies a couple of years ago, but when it came to Apple Senators John McCain and Carl Levin were grandstanding: patronising when Tim Cook gave his address, but then ripping into Apple for doing what many other US corporations do. It was embarrassing watching this pair on C-Span. With more than 50% of its income from overseas operations, Apple uses Luxembourg and Ireland as convenient countries to help ease the company's tax burden.

After the EU ruling this week Brussels is likely to shift its attention to other companies that try to pay less taxes. It may not be long before Washington too has another look at the cash Apple keeps abroad, partly because of the 30% levy that would be incurred if the money were to be repatriated. Tax laws again.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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