Apple ranks as Ireland's biggest company thanks to funneled international income

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple has claimed the top spot on an Irish Times list of the country's biggest companies in 2019, if largely because of its tax avoidance strategy.

Apple Cork Ireland


The iPhone maker recorded sales of 119 billion euros, or about $133.67 billion, Business World noted. That put it far ahead of other tech multinationals like Google ($35.95 billion) and Facebook ($21.01 billion).

Apple's local hardware and service income likely represents a slim fraction of reported sales. The country's entire population is a little over 4.84 million, and the company has no first-party stores, even in the capital of Dublin or near its regional Cork headquarters.

Instead most of its Irish income is actually from overseas, funneled through the country to exploit tax loopholes. The only exception to this is the U.S., Apple's global homebase.

In 2016 the European Commission ruled that Ireland extended illegal state aid to Apple in the form of preferential tax breaks. While Apple and the Irish government are still fighting the decision, Apple has already paid Ireland a $15 billion lump sum to avoid any additional E.U. actions.

Critics have long worried that tech multinationals like Apple aren't paying their fair share of taxes in the countries they operate in, causing government budget shortfalls in areas like healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Various European proposals could see Apple subject to so-called "GAFA" (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) taxes, though to date Sweden, Finland, Ireland, and Denmark have blocked a blanket E.U. tax.

CEO Tim Cook has maintained that Apple pays "all of the taxes we owe," and that it even follows "the spirit of the laws," despite its use of loopholes and previous rulings on back taxes.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,096member
    Calling it “tax avoidance” instead “tax minimization” tells me everything I needed to know about this story. Thumbs down.
    maltzArloTimetravelerlkruppcoolfactorrandominternetpersoncintoskevin keemacplusplusjony0
  • Reply 2 of 21
    I bet all the people (and families) employed by Apple in Ireland are happy about the tax avoidance.
    edited May 9 coolfactorGeorgeBMacjony0
  • Reply 3 of 21
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,066member
    Calling it “tax avoidance” instead “tax minimization” tells me everything I needed to know about this story. Thumbs down.
    Yep, Apple is paying the taxes it owes according to the tax laws of the governments involved. The fact that those same governments allow so-called loopholes to exist is not the fault of the individuals or corporations who use those loopholes. 
    coolfactorracerhomie3jony0
  • Reply 4 of 21
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,650member
    There is nothing wrong with either people or corporations trying to pay as little tax as they are legally required to.

    I know that when I file my taxes each year, you can bet that I am looking to pay as little as required and I will look for as many deductions as possible.

    That's called being smart.


    coolfactorArloTimetravelerracerhomie3cintosSpamSandwichjony0
  • Reply 5 of 21
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,810member
    Which company pays the most to Ireland?
    coolfactor
  • Reply 6 of 21
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,586member
    Soli said:
    Which company pays the most to Ireland?
    Apple would claim they are, but never responded when asked for specifics on Mr. Cook's statement to that effect a couple years ago. 
    muthuk_vanalingamCarnage
  • Reply 7 of 21
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,462member
    Critics have long worried that tech multinationals like Apple aren't paying their fair share of taxes in the countries they operate in, causing government budget shortfalls in areas like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.


    I'm curious how much the presence of these big companies would be missed if they left because of unreasonable greediness by political bodies in these countries?

    Tax minimization is a good strategy because governments are wasteful. Need to keep them in check.

    racerhomie3
  • Reply 8 of 21
    yuck9yuck9 Posts: 68member
    Critics have long worried that tech multinationals like Apple aren't paying their fair share of taxes in the countries they operate in, causing government budget shortfalls in areas like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.


    I'm curious how much the presence of these big companies would be missed if they left because of unreasonable greediness by political bodies in these countries?

    Tax minimization is a good strategy because governments are wasteful. Need to keep them in check.

    Unreasonable ? Reason why Apple is there is the tax breaks. (Cheaper) I bet they lose. (Apple)... 
  • Reply 9 of 21
    I was just thinking that countries would like to see big companies like Apple pay more in taxes (their fair share). Unfortunately, the people of the country probably wouldn't enjoy the benefits of the money, but I bet the politicians would enjoy the benefits of the money.
    cornchiplukei
  • Reply 10 of 21
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,293member

    Apple isn’t “funnelling” anything. Taxes are due, like all corporations, in the HQ: Ireland or the US if repatriated . The countries where Apple sells can get taxes from sales on Vat (which is significant) , and on any retail profit made by Apple or other resellers. Then the rest of the profit is charged with tax  at HQ. Same with BMW. It’s the way corporation tax works. 
    macplusplus
  • Reply 11 of 21
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 372member
    lkrupp said:
    Calling it “tax avoidance” instead “tax minimization” tells me everything I needed to know about this story. Thumbs down.
    Yep, Apple is paying the taxes it owes according to the tax laws of the governments involved. The fact that those same governments allow so-called loopholes to exist is not the fault of the individuals or corporations who use those loopholes. 
    Its the corporations' fault if these corporations were involved in bribing the typical politician into creating the loopholes in the first place. Both sides then would be guilty of legalized RICO. 
    muthuk_vanalingamCarnage
  • Reply 12 of 21
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,312member
    I was just thinking that countries would like to see big companies like Apple pay more in taxes (their fair share). Unfortunately, the people of the country probably wouldn't enjoy the benefits of the money, but I bet the politicians would enjoy the benefits of the money.
    I would love to see where each one of those 15B dollars from last fall went.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    cintoscintos Posts: 112member
    "Fair share?" Amazon makes a business of having minimal income (and are for some reason loved by Mr. Market for that), while Apple makes more in a week than AMZN makes in a year. Taxes are on profits, not on revenue... which is why VAT is a better way to charge taxes.
  • Reply 14 of 21
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,586member
    cintos said:
    "Fair share?" Amazon makes a business of having minimal income (and are for some reason loved by Mr. Market for that), while Apple makes more in a week than AMZN makes in a year. Taxes are on profits, not on revenue... which is why VAT is a better way to charge taxes.
    In general Apple doesn't pay VAT. 
  • Reply 15 of 21
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,034member
    larryjw said:
    lkrupp said:
    Calling it “tax avoidance” instead “tax minimization” tells me everything I needed to know about this story. Thumbs down.
    Yep, Apple is paying the taxes it owes according to the tax laws of the governments involved. The fact that those same governments allow so-called loopholes to exist is not the fault of the individuals or corporations who use those loopholes. 
    Its the corporations' fault if these corporations were involved in bribing the typical politician into creating the loopholes in the first place. Both sides then would be guilty of legalized RICO. 
    That's an accusation without evidence.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,586member
    cornchip said:
    I was just thinking that countries would like to see big companies like Apple pay more in taxes (their fair share). Unfortunately, the people of the country probably wouldn't enjoy the benefits of the money, but I bet the politicians would enjoy the benefits of the money.
    I would love to see where each one of those 15B dollars from last fall went.
    Nowhere yet. It's simply being held until there's clarity on whether Apple ores it or not. In the meantime it's earning interest for the eventual owner. 
  • Reply 17 of 21
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,458member
    apple ][ said:
    There is nothing wrong with either people or corporations trying to pay as little tax as they are legally required to.

    I know that when I file my taxes each year, you can bet that I am looking to pay as little as required and I will look for as many deductions as possible.

    That's called being smart.


    Yeh, you nailed it on that one.
    Apple was in fact following the law.  Or, well, Irish law.
    The trouble is:  Ireland was not following EU law (or rules -- whatever).

    There have always been "offshore" operations that bypass laws of finance and taxation.  And, those who use them tend to be regarded suspiciously.

    But, the fact here remains:  Apple reaped the benefits of operating in the EU but avoided paying the required taxes.  
    Carnage
  • Reply 18 of 21
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,586member
    apple ][ said:
    There is nothing wrong with either people or corporations trying to pay as little tax as they are legally required to.

    I know that when I file my taxes each year, you can bet that I am looking to pay as little as required and I will look for as many deductions as possible.

    That's called being smart.


    Yeh, you nailed it on that one.
    Apple was in fact following the law.  Or, well, Irish law.
    The trouble is:  Ireland was not following EU law (or rules -- whatever).

    There have always been "offshore" operations that bypass laws of finance and taxation.  And, those who use them tend to be regarded suspiciously.

    But, the fact here remains:  Apple reaped the benefits of operating in the EU but avoided paying the required taxes.  
    ...and in New Zealand, and in Australia. and in Japan, and several Asian countries where Apple profits on sales in those countries were funneled to Ireland to avoid taxation in the countries where the transactions took place. The schemes used to do so are not available to any but the largest and wealthiest companies in the world. The rich get richer on the backs of the rest of us and so it goes. Nothing has changed except the tricks and techniques used to do it.

    Taking land and gold for themselves used to be a tactic for Kings and Queens while the peasants were expected to cough up even more to "support the Kingdom" so the Dukes and Duchesses could continue their lifestyles. Now it's taking a people's money from their country off to a foreign land to enrich no one but an already wealthy beyond any possible need multinational and the ridiculously paid executive management who run them with the approval of the well-off investors. Meanwhile the "peasants" back home are expected to cough up more taxes themselves to "support their countries" and allow the already wealthy to continue their lifestyles, and assert power to control the flow of money which leads to the above. What a great plan. 
    edited May 10 GeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingamCarnage
  • Reply 19 of 21
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,838member
    A company's "fair share" is whatever they owe under current tax laws in that jurisdiction. No more, no less. If anyone has a problem with that, they should take it up with the appropriate governing body that makes tax law in that jurisdiction. Here in the US, that's Congress, who just handed corporations a pile of tax breaks.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    FinfactsFinfacts Posts: 1member
    Apple as Ireland’s top company is basically fake news as set out here:

    https://www.finfacts-blog.com/2019/05/the-fiction-in-irish-times-top-1000.html

    Google as rank 2 thanks to booking almost a third of its annual global revenues in Ireland is also a fantasy, which was dubbed by Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist, as leprechaun economics in 2016.

    Michael Hennigan 

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