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Apple Owes Back-Taxes in the E.U.: Blame Ireland or Apple?

The European Commission issued a formal decision on August 30, 2016 that the state of Ireland “recoup roughly €13 billion ($14.5 billion) of unpaid taxes accumulated over more than a decade by Apple, Inc.”[1]The decision “shows companies could be on the hook for past behavior and potentially be handed big bills for allegedly unpaid back taxes.”[2]E.U. law “forbid companies from gaining advantages over competitors because of government help.”[3]This applies both the federal government and the state governments, so the law could be better stated as, “No state government shall help companies gain advantages over their competitors.” Presumably Ireland’s government made the offer of help, rather than Apple getting that government to comply with the company’s wishes. If so, the state government rather than the company should be held responsible. Put another way, if Apple’s board and management considered the Irish offer to be legitimate at the time, Apple should not be held to pay the back taxes; rather, the state government should pay a penalty to the Commission.



The full essay is at “Ireland or Apple?”



[1]Natalia Drozdiak and Sam Schechner, “$14.5 Billion Irish Tax Bill,” The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2016.
[2]Ibid.
[3]Ibid.

Authored By The Worden Report