Detente possible between Tim Cook, Macron over Apple's future taxation in France, EU

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More details have emerged from Apple CEO Tim Cook's meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron -- with Cook reportedly exiting the discussion aware that the earnings generated by the iPhone need to be better shared amongst EU nations, and not primarily collected by one or two countries.




A new report from Bloomberg claims that Cook didn't challenge Emmanuel on his assertion that multi-national technology firms need to pay more in taxes around the European Union, rather than just to Ireland. Officially, Macron's staff report that past tax disputes weren't discussed in any way, but Cook acknowledged a sea change in how companies should pay taxes specifically where they are earned, and not in one country to cover the entire EU.

The tech giants are not strangers to tax disputes with EU nations. Apple continues to deal with a ruling by the European Commission, which will force a $15 billion payment of back taxes to Ireland -- when the Irish government gets the disbursing fund established.

Ireland disputes the ruling, and says that Apple has paid all of its required taxes. The European Commission is suing Ireland for the lack of collection, and to force the issue.

More recently, Amazon was also hit with a European Commission fine to pay $294 million in back taxes owed to Luxembourg. Google has recently paid $181 million to the U.K to settle a tax dispute, and France is also trying to get back taxes from the search engine behemoth.

To settle a different tax issue with Italy, in 2015 Apple paid a $347 million tax assessment for failing to declare income from the Apple Stores in the country. In both Apple's case with Italy, and Google's with the U.K., most of the profits gleaned in the respective countries were legally funneled through a headquarters in Ireland, with a tax deal negotiated with the country's government.

Apple has not officially commented on the matter. In 2016, Cook declared that claims that Apple avoids taxation were "total political crap."

Other topics of conversation between Cook and Macron reportedly included Apple's educational initiatives, improving relations with French suppliers to Apple, and the possibility of an Apple presence in Paris's "Station F" startup incubator.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,011member
    The EU needs to figure out their tax issues. Are they a collection of independent nations with a free trade zone or are they a collection of dependent states with a strong central authority? They need to decide one way or the other. 
    MacPro
  • Reply 2 of 7
    steven n. said:
    The EU needs to figure out their tax issues. Are they a collection of independent nations with a free trade zone or are they a collection of dependent states with a strong central authority? They need to decide one way or the other. 
    They had decided a long time ago. It just took them a while to collect enough power to execute the plan. Look at what they do and how they do that. What they actually say matters not.
  • Reply 3 of 7
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,041member
    The only way that would work would be to see the EU as one State ( as Steven says) and to send that tax to Brussels. No doubt the big two expect to get lots of that money in tax ( if corporate tax is distributed proportional to revenue). 
  • Reply 4 of 7
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,101member

    Imagine the US government telling each state to collect taxes and then share them with the other 49 states. Since Calif is the largest state from a taxing standpoint they would have to spread that wealth among rest of us. How well do you think that would work in the US. In PA the tax rate is 3.6% but Calif is 5% to 11%, I think Calif would get upset that PA does not taxes as much as Calif so they do not deserve any of their money.

    The EU is more screwed up than I realizes, I thought it was mostly about having a common currency, free trade and common regulations, not they want each state to share tax revenues with all the other members. From the sound of , it only apply to non EU companies. Do you think BMW and Germany share tax revenues with Spain and France.

    I am not sure how it is Apple problem to fix the EU issue. This is real corporate welfare, the government wants companies to pay for the welfare of it citizens. France just need to tell all the lazy asses to get off their butts and do some real work. You can not educate everyone into a job, you still need people digging ditches.

    edited October 2017
  • Reply 5 of 7
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,599member
    maestro64 said:

    Imagine the US government telling each state to collect taxes and then share them with the other 49 states. Since Calif is the largest state from a taxing standpoint they would have to spread that wealth among rest of us. How well do you think that would work in the US. In PA the tax rate is 3.6% but Calif is 5% to 11%, I think Calif would get upset that PA does not taxes as much as Calif so they do not deserve any of their money.

    The EU is more screwed up than I realizes, I thought it was mostly about having a common currency, free trade and common regulations, not they want each state to share tax revenues with all the other members. From the sound of , it only apply to non EU companies. Do you think BMW and Germany share tax revenues with Spain and France.

    I am not sure how it is Apple problem to fix the EU issue. This is real corporate welfare, the government wants companies to pay for the welfare of it citizens. France just need to tell all the lazy asses to get off their butts and do some real work. You can not educate everyone into a job, you still need people digging ditches.


    The plan isn't that all the tax money be thrown in a big pool and divided up. You really should read what the proposals say before dismissing them with ridicule.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    maestro64 said:

    Imagine the US government telling each state to collect taxes and then share them with the other 49 states. Since Calif is the largest state from a taxing standpoint they would have to spread that wealth among rest of us. How well do you think that would work in the US. In PA the tax rate is 3.6% but Calif is 5% to 11%, I think Calif would get upset that PA does not taxes as much as Calif so they do not deserve any of their money.

    The EU is more screwed up than I realizes, I thought it was mostly about having a common currency, free trade and common regulations, not they want each state to share tax revenues with all the other members. From the sound of , it only apply to non EU companies. Do you think BMW and Germany share tax revenues with Spain and France.

    I am not sure how it is Apple problem to fix the EU issue. This is real corporate welfare, the government wants companies to pay for the welfare of it citizens. France just need to tell all the lazy asses to get off their butts and do some real work. You can not educate everyone into a job, you still need people digging ditches.

    You should read the article and get a bit of background information. The point is that they don't pay any taxes at all in any of the countries but Ireland (where they pay as low as 0.05% in some years if I remember right). Basically, they have pushed their tax optimization strategy to far and are getting nailed for it now (as they should)
  • Reply 7 of 7
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,011member
    gatorguy said:
    maestro64 said:

    Imagine the US government telling each state to collect taxes and then share them with the other 49 states. Since Calif is the largest state from a taxing standpoint they would have to spread that wealth among rest of us. How well do you think that would work in the US. In PA the tax rate is 3.6% but Calif is 5% to 11%, I think Calif would get upset that PA does not taxes as much as Calif so they do not deserve any of their money.

    The EU is more screwed up than I realizes, I thought it was mostly about having a common currency, free trade and common regulations, not they want each state to share tax revenues with all the other members. From the sound of , it only apply to non EU companies. Do you think BMW and Germany share tax revenues with Spain and France.

    I am not sure how it is Apple problem to fix the EU issue. This is real corporate welfare, the government wants companies to pay for the welfare of it citizens. France just need to tell all the lazy asses to get off their butts and do some real work. You can not educate everyone into a job, you still need people digging ditches.


    The plan isn't that all the tax money be thrown in a big pool and divided up. You really should read what the proposals say before dismissing them with ridicule.
    He isn’t that far off. Thinking the EU does not have a serious issue with tax regulation is simply burying your head in the sand.

    The biggest issue is the EU has no central taxing authority. They leave it up to the member nations to decide on what and how much to tax within some guidelines. That is why VAT can vary between 17% and 27% depending on state.  Average personal income tax ranges from 8% to 37%. Average yearly income has a massive range from 8K to 55K from nation to nation. Corporate tax policies also differ wildly. This makes for a hard regulatory condition when all you have is little more than guidelines and a common currency. 

    In the US, a strong central taxing authority levels the playing field between states somewhat. In the US, the strong central authority collects about 60% of taxes, the states collect about 30% and local city governments the remaining 10%. 

    As I said, the EU needs decide what it wants to be when it grows up. 
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