Apple among tech giants in France and Germany’s crosshairs

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France and Germany want to cut down on tech giants' tax avoidance.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

France and Germany are looking to crack down on loopholes that allow U.S. tech companies, including Apple, to minimize their tax contributions at the expense of local rivals.

According to a new report, France will kick things off by proposing “simpler rules” for taxing tech giants. These will be revealed at a meeting with EU officials in mid-September.

“Europe must learn to defend its economic interest much more firmly — China does it, the U.S. does it,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in an interview published by Bloomberg. “You cannot take the benefit of doing business in France or in Europe without paying the taxes that other companies — French or European companies — are paying.”

Germany will be putting forward proposals following its national election on September 24, said Denis Kolberg, a finance ministry spokesman.

Apple vs. EU

This isn’t the first time Apple has faced challenges in Europe over its tax structure. Last year, the company received an unexpected bill of $14 billion in allegedly unpaid back taxes in the EU. Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell argued that Apple has been singled out because of its success, suggesting that European legislators picked on the company for largely symbolic reasons.

The EU has claimed that Apple takes advantage of illegal state aid that allowed the company to route its profits through Ireland. Apple CEO Tim Cook has denied any wrongdoing.

What do you think of the potential crackdown on Apple and other tech companies and their tax strategy? Leave your comments below.

Source: Bloomberg