Apple has been hit with another massive fine in Europe, as French tax authorities recently issued the company with a 400 million euro ($422 million) bill, according to French newspaper L’Express.
As with a lot of Apple’s other tax issues, the complaint reportedly relates to Apple’s tax optimizing strategy of channelling profits through its Irish subsidiary.
The current tax bill involves only Apple France, and just the years 2011 through 2013. However, with the years 2013 through 2015 yet to be audited, similar tax bills may be in the mail in the immediate future.
Strangely, the news story claims that Apple was never notified about the investigation by French authorities, and found out about it only when reading reports in the press.
France is far from the only country in Europe to have recently targeted Apple as part of a tax investigation. Late last year, Apple agreed to pay Italy 318 million euros ($347 million) to settle a tax investigation in Italy — which could potentially have even involved jail time for the head of Apple’s Irish-based Apple Sales International.
More notably, back in August the European Union finally concluded an investigation into Apple’s European tax situation — demanding an enormous 13 billion euros ($14.52 billion) sum for allegedly unpaid back taxes in the Republic of Ireland.
For its part, Apple has always insisted that it behaves entirely properly from a tax perspective. During the “Inside Apple” episode of 60 Minutes, Tim Cook told Charlie Rose that accusing Apple of tax avoidance was, “total political crap.”
We’re guessing European tax investigators isn’t one of the things he said he was thankful for during yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner.