France orders Apple to pay $6.5M in taxes for 2011 iPad sales

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
A French professional association that collects revenue for artists' copyrighted works has charged Apple $6.5 million in taxes related to iPad sales in 2011.

iPad


The fee of 5 million euros passed on to Apple was revealed by the association known as SACEM, and highlighted by Rude Baguette. The charge comes from a tax that applies in a number of countries across Europe, including France and Germany, that applies to all digital devices that can be used with copyrighted material.

After the fees are collected by SACEM, those taxes are doled out to authors, creators, producers, actors and others.

According to the organization, Apple charged the SACEM fee to consumers who bought iPads in 2011, but the 5 million in euros were never paid to the association.

The French government has also recently considered instituting a so-called "culture tax" on devices like Apple's iPhone and iPad lineup. By levying a 1 percent tax on technology hardware, France would then receive roughly 86 million euros per year that would go to cultural industries focused on French music, images and videos.

As of the end of its last fiscal quarter, Apple had $145 billion in cash and investments, $100 billion of which is housed overseas. As the company's cash hoard has grown, so too has criticism of the taxes it pays.

The $6.5 million sum being charged in France is minuscule compared to the billions in taxes that some believe should be paid in the U.S. Though Apple has broken no laws in sheltering funds overseas, the company came under fire from U.S. lawmakers last month during a Senate subcommittee hearing attended by CEO Tim Cook.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    gustavgustav Posts: 824member
    When Canada had the iPod levy (thankfully, they don't anymore), lots of people used that levy to justify piracy. Be careful, France. Do you want your citizens to think "hey, I already pay money to the artists, why should I pay them twice?"
  • Reply 2 of 34
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,596member
    It is the pirating tax for those not familiar with this. Since the device has the ability to store content which could have been pirated or illegally copied or download, the manufacturers are required to pay a tax equal to the storage capabilities of the device.

    In the EU they feel that everyone should pay the cost of few who do illegal things. It most cases the content owner are getting paid twice if you paid for directly.
  • Reply 3 of 34
    old-wizold-wiz Posts: 194member
    Gustav, excellent point.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

    It is the pirating tax for those not familiar with this. Since the device has the ability to store content which could have been pirated or illegally copied or down load, the manufacturers are required to pay a tax equal to the storage capabilities of the device.




    Is there a bank robbery tax on all vehicles to cover illegal actions performed with vehicles? Is there an obesity tax on all food to cover the medical costs of eating too much?


     


    If not, they're worthless hypocrites and Apple needs to pay France exactly 6.5 million tons of cow droppings. And then pay the methane tax on that. In the equivalent amount of FURTHER cow droppings.

  • Reply 5 of 34
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,146member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post



    It is the pirating tax for those not familiar with this. Since the device has the ability to store content which could have been pirated or illegally copied or download, the manufacturers are required to pay a tax equal to the storage capabilities of the device.



    In the EU they feel that everyone should pay the cost of few who do illegal things. It most cases the content owner are getting paid twice if you paid for directly.


     


    I also remember the proposal in the U.S. to add a fee to every blank VHS tape or blank CD to make up for piracy. I think they wanted to tax the recorder hardware too.

  • Reply 6 of 34
    rayzrayz Posts: 814member


    Whether or not the tax makes sense or not, if Apple collected it then it should be paid.


     


    And I am assuming they collected it.

  • Reply 7 of 34
    iobserveiobserve Posts: 95member
    Is anyone else getting the impression that the EU countries are using Apple as an economic and political piñata...
  • Reply 8 of 34
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Silly tax--but the article said Apple did collect the money, as law required. If they screwed up and kept the tax, that does need to be rectified.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,180member
    Fascism has made quite a comeback.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Fascism has made quite a comeback.

    To paraphrase LL Cool J, don't call it a comeback it's been here for years.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    rayz wrote: »
    Whether or not the tax makes sense or not, if Apple collected it then it should be paid.

    And I am assuming they collected it.

    The article says that they collected it, so it obviously needs to be paid.

    I can't imagine Apple intentionally collecting the tax and not paying it, though. I'm guessing there's an accounting error somewhere - either in Apple's system or in SACEM's.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,705member
    jragosta wrote: »
    The article says that they collected it, so it obviously needs to be paid.

    I can't imagine Apple intentionally collecting the tax and not paying it, though. I'm guessing there's an accounting error somewhere - either in Apple's system or in SACEM's.

    6.5 million is a rounding error. Apple should sent it to the gov if they did collect the fees.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    This is the [I]copie privee[/I] levy which is applied to all storage media...cd, DVD, USB stick, hdd, cable boxes, tv media players..etc. it's applied retrospectively, is almost impossible to calculate, is not transparent and is [B]not[/B] popular, especially with French home grown companies like Archos who feel they are being double taxed. They even went to court over it but the trail is dead since freedom of information is not an established procedure when dealing in taxation matters in France.
  • Reply 14 of 34

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post


    I also remember the proposal in the U.S. to add a fee to every blank VHS tape or blank CD to make up for piracy. I think they wanted to tax the recorder hardware too.



    I believe it was instituted for certain CD types.  So-called "Music CD" or "Consumer CD" blanks (versus "data CD" blanks).  The Consumer CDs were subject to a manufacturer tax, and were higher-priced, as a result. A few CD burners could actually tell the difference between the two types of CD, though the ones for computers generally did not care.  I once had a tabletop device called a "Terrapin" which would encode and burn Video-CDs from an analog source, such as a broadcast signal.  It required "Consumer CD" blanks, and would not work with standard computer data CDs.  Yes, the fact that I was being taxed for piracy when I was merely making VCDs of my home movies did sting.  Sad to see that France (and the EU) want to continue this stupidity.

  • Reply 15 of 34
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    The article says that they collected it, so it obviously needs to be paid.



    I can't imagine Apple intentionally collecting the tax and not paying it, though. I'm guessing there's an accounting error somewhere - either in Apple's system or in SACEM's.


     


     


    Given the tonality of the previous comments, I did not intend to participate to this "discussion", especially given the fact that from a personal standpoint, I also question the usefulness of this tax.....


     


    I only wanted to precise to jragosta that the reason for this situation is that Apple challenges the way the amount is calculated, but not the principle itself. This dispute will be settled through the adequate legal body, and Apple has provisioned the amount anyway.


     


    To the other commenters, I just want you to notice that this amount is less than 1/10 th of the monthly salary of P Oppenheimer, so, keep cool, I know you live in a wonderful country where taxes do not exist, but ....this is a ridiculous amount for Apple .. and -isms metaphors are somewhat "inappropriate", using a British formulation ....

  • Reply 16 of 34
    msimpsonmsimpson Posts: 452member


    When they finally invent a transporter like they have in Star Trek, the first trial runs will be between France and San Francisco.

  • Reply 17 of 34
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,204member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post




    Is there a bank robbery tax on all vehicles to cover illegal actions performed with vehicles?



     


    Oh precisely, it's absolutely ridiculous. Europe is a joke.

  • Reply 18 of 34
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    msimpson wrote: »
    When they finally invent a transporter like they have in Star Trek, the first trial runs will be between France and San Francisco.

    Luc Besson already invented The Transporter.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    Oh precisely, it's absolutely ridiculous. Europe is a joke.
    Welcome to the melting pot - its what we say about American law. :smokey:
  • Reply 20 of 34
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,180member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    To paraphrase LL Cool J, don't call it a comeback it's been here for years.


     


    Now you're quoting my favorite rap song... not fair. :D

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