Mendoza School of Business

Apple’s $14.5 billion EU tax bill highlights overseas earnings hoard

Published: August 30, 2016 / Author: Los Angeles Times

European regulators have given Apple Inc. a new moniker to accompany its hard-earned titles of computer pioneer, high-tech design icon and world’s most valuable company: multibillion-dollar tax cheat.

The European Union on Tuesday ordered Ireland to send the Cupertino, Calif., company a bill for up to $14.5 billion in back taxes, plus interest.

A two-year EU investigation determined that Ireland and Apple struck an illegal deal that allowed the technology giant to pay virtually no taxes from 2003 to 2014 on profits for sales throughout the 28-nation region.

“They put as much energy into tax avoidance policies as they did into industrial design,” Edward Kleinbard, a USC professor and former chief of staff to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, said of Apple. 

The ruling marked the biggest step yet in Europe’s controversial efforts to crack down on multinational corporations that channel profits through foreign subsidiaries to avoid or reduce their tax bills.

Ireland, however, has no interest in enforcing the ruling, which could make the nation less attractive as a corporate location, said Brad Badertscher, a professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. Apple has 6,000 employees there in two subsidiaries.

“Ireland needs Apple more than Apple needs Ireland,” he said.

Read the entire story on the Los Angeles Times website.