The European Commission has announced that it will launch a formal investigation on into Apple somewhat dodgy tax scheme.
The news follows a statement from the EU’s competition authority last year that it was looking into corporate tax arrangements in several member states and had requested information from Ireland. Apple is widely seen as low hanging fruit as it, along with Google, have the most public relationship with Ireland.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny declined to comment on whether the Commission might be preparing to open an investigation but said he was confident of the legality of Ireland’s tax system.
“We believe that our legislation … is very strong and ethically implemented and we will defend that very robustly,” Kenny told journalists in Dublin.
Apple had cut billions from its tax bill by declaring companies registered in the Irish city of Cork as not tax resident in any country.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the subcommittee, dubbed the Apple structure represented “the Holy Grail of tax avoidance.”
Apple in the United States entered into deals with the Irish subsidiaries whereby the Irish units received the rights to certain intellectual property that were subsequently licensed to other group companies, helping ensure almost no tax was reported in countries such as Britain or France.
This meant that the Apple had an effective tax rate of just 3.7 percent on its non-U.S. income last year.
Apple insists that it complied with the law. “We pay all the taxes we owe – every single dollar,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook testified to U.S. Senate committee investigators last year.
The Tame Apple Press has been reassuring people that nothing will happen to Apple.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said investors are currently “hyper-focused” on new product speculation.
So, in other words, while Apple is planning to bring out a new product, it can take money from whoever it likes investors are only interested in the shiny. Still investors will be happy that Jobs’ Mob is not paying tax, because it means more money for them. The people who should be really cross are governments who are strapped for cash for things like schools and medical programmes.