German finance minister blasts tech giants which ‘pay taxes nowhere’

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Apple has previously battled the EU over tax avoidance.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Germany’s finance minister Olaf Scholz has slammed tech giants that “pay taxes nowhere.”

It’s the latest shot at tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon which have previously clashed with the European Union on tax issues. In an interview with CNBC, Scholz argued that “we should find a global agreement” to shut tax avoidance loopholes.

New French tax law could take on tech giants like Apple

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The EU has been trying to solve the problem of taxing the tech giants.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The EU has gone after companies like Apple as part of a crackdown on what it views as unethical tax avoidance. As part of that mission, France is today debating a draft GAFA tax law.

An acronym derived from Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, the proposed GAFA law could put a 3 percent tax on revenues for tech companies with annual revenue of more than 750 million euros ($842 million). From the name of the proposed law, it’s no secret which companies that would involve.

Apple will pay France $571 million in back taxes

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Europe continues to chase Apple for unpaid taxes.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple has agreed to pay French authorities around $571 million in back taxes, according to new reports.

Apple today confirmed the deal but did not disclose the sum itself. The agreement comes after a multi-year audit into Apple’s accounts by the French tax administration.

Apple won’t pay Cupertino ‘head tax’ after all

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It's not like Apple has the cash to spare!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple won’t have to pay additional taxes to the city of Cupertino based on the company’s number of local employees, city officials have decided.

Some Cupertino City Council members planned to give voters the opportunity to decide whether Apple, and other large local businesses, should pay a “head tax.” Apple would have paid around $9.4 million annually to the city. However, those plans have now been scrapped.

Apple declines chance to defend EU tax case

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Apple doesn't want to speak in public about its tax dispute.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has turned down the invitation to publicly testify before the European Parliament’s special committee on tax evasion. According to the company, the reason is that it doesn’t want to risk doing anything which could harm its ongoing appeal against the massive EU tax bill it faces.

In a letter to the EU committee published today, Apple said that, “It is important to ensure public commentary does not prejudice those proceedings.”

Cupertino wants to squeeze extra taxes out of Apple

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Headcount tax would charge Apple for every employee in Cupertino.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Cupertino could introduce a tax that would charge Apple an additional fee based on its number of employees. The city has hired a firm to poll residents asking their thoughts on such a tax, and how it should be spent.

At present, Apple has upwards of 25,000 employees in the Bay Area, although it’s not clear how many of these are specifically based in Cupertino. Apple is Cupertino’s largest employer, and has been for many years.

Apple starts paying off its massive $16 billion European tax bill

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Apple's payment means EU will drop may drop its lawsuit against Ireland.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has transferred the first 1.5 billion euro ($1.18 billion) installment of its $16 billion fine ordered by the European Union, reflecting back taxes the company supposedly hasn’t paid.

The payment was confirmed today by Ireland’s Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. In response to Apple paying up, EU authorities are reportedly open to dropping a lawsuit against Ireland for failing to do more to chase Apple’s debt.

U.S. can’t help Apple in its fight against EU

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U.S. government won’t be able to aid Apple in its fight against European Union.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The U.S. wanted to be in Apple’s corner for its battle against the European Union, but a ruling from the EU’s highest court means that the United States is going to have to keep its distance.

The court upheld a previous December decision from a lower court, stating that the American government has not proved that it has any direct interest in the state aid case against Apple.