Wednesday, 26 March 2014

An Apple A Day = No Tax!!

Apple Nicked Billions in Tax from Australia

The Australian newspapers are outraged after finding out that the tech giant managed to work out a way of avoiding giving billions to its taxman. In the meantime, the company has already been in hot water for overcharging the local citizens for its shiny toys. Now Apple seems to be refusing to pay tax in Australia.

Local media pointed out that part of the idea of a trickledown effect is that Apple should pay tax to fund such things as welfare programs, but Apple has worked out a way of avoiding paying most of the tax. The company is said to have shifted almost $9 billion in untaxed profits from its Australian operations to a tax haven structure in Ireland within the last 10 years.

For example, back in 2013, the company reported pretax earnings in Australia of only $88 million, but before that Apple sent an estimated $2 billion of income from its Australian sales to Ireland via Singapore, where it negotiated a secret tax deal 5 years ago.
The local media got a decade’s financial accounts for Apple Sales International, the secretive Irish company at the heart of Apple’s international tax arrangements. That information revealed the mark-up company charges for intellectual property on its products across the globe. It is known that it was the first time that the financial details of the scale of Apple's tax avoidance has been made public.

So, Apple Sales International has reported over $100 billion of profits in the last 5 years, while paying less than 0.05% in tax. Apple’s contempt for paying tax was the focus of a 2013 report by the US Senate's Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The report in question also pointed out to the amount of tax avoidance that the American authorities let through.

Despite the fact that the tech giant is creating worldwide revenues the size of the California state budget, it is refusing paying tax anywhere. Although the architect of its tax strategy, the chief financial officer, has announced his retirement in the US a few days ago, the company is likely to continue his course, as it is perfectly legal.

The matter is that Apple moves all cash to Ireland where it pays no tax because the company is managed and controlled in California. At the same time, Apple pays no US tax either because American legislation disregards where a company is managed and only looks at where it is legally registered. After the Irish government tried to close this "double-non-taxation" loophole, the company simply chose a tax residence with no corporate tax – Singapore, and continues to pay no tax.

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