Paradise Papers: How an island and Ireland aided Apple's megaprofits

08 November, 2017, 09:34 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Tax avoidance issues best dealt with by OECD - Varadkar

The move from Apple came after the company's shelter in Ireland began to be less reliable.

Margrethe Vestager has announced she is taking another look at Apple's tax affairs after hitting out at technology companies for undermining democracy and allowing "fear" and "greed" to drive anti-competitive behaviour.

"Under this arrangement, the MacBook-maker has continued to enjoy ultra-low tax rates on most of its profits and now holds much of its non-US earnings in a $252 billion mountain of cash offshore".

The Paradise Papers is the name for a huge leak of financial documents that is throwing light on the world of offshore finance.

The NYT and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists cited confidential records that were obtained by the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and shared.

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CNET is unable to verify whether the documents are real or have been altered.

Apple came under pressure in 2013 in the US Senate, when CEO Tim Cook was forced to defend its tax system.

Collectively, the leaked documents paint a picture of a company looking for a jurisdiction where it would pay low or non-existent taxes, and could operate with discretion in a stable political environment unlikely to change suddenly. That maneuver lets the companies avoid paying hefty taxes they could face by bringing the cash back to the US.

Several months later, due to worldwide pressure, Irish authorities started to crack down on the scheme, forcing Apple to start looking for a new tax haven.

But Apple has come under fire both in the United States and the European Union for its tax practices.

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A law professor who reviewed the documents told the newspaper that there was a "strong possibility" that Apple moved intellectual property to Ireland in a transfer worth almost $200 billion.

They reveal how Apple sidestepped a 2013 crackdown on its controversial Irish tax practices by actively shopping around for a tax haven.

"When Ireland changed its tax laws in 2015, we complied by changing the residency of our Irish subsidiaries and we informed Ireland, the European Commission and the United States". In fact, our payments to Ireland increased significantly and over the last three years we've paid $1.5 billion in tax there - 7% of all corporate income taxes paid in that country. As a result, the European Union slapped Apple with a $14.5 billion tax bill in mid-2016.

After the USA technology colossus stated publicly in 2013 that it was paying its proper share of taxes, it moved the bulk of its untaxed overseas cash to the Channel Islands jurisdiction Jersey, the New York Times and BBC reported based on a once-secret cache of documents referred to as the Paradise Papers.

The paper reported Apple, with the help of law firm Appleby, chose Jersey for its 0 percent corporate tax rate.

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