Consumers in London welcome a European Commission order that Apple Inc. must pay Ireland unpaid taxes of up to 13 billion euros (US14.5 billion dollars) as it rules the firm received illegal state aid.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (AUGUST 30, 2016) (REUTERS) – Consumers in London welcomed on Tuesday (August 30) a decision by EU anti trust regulators, ordering Apple to pay up to 13 billion euros (US14.5 billion dollars) in taxes plus interest to the Irish government after ruling a special scheme to route profits through Ireland was illegal state aid.
Outside the company’s flagship retail store in Covent Garden, central London, Sam Fortune said she was “disgusted” that paid tax rates on European profits on sales of its iPhone and other devices and services of between just 0.005 percent in 2014 and one percent in 2003.
“They should be standing up and paying the tax that they should pay. They’re a huge company, they make an awful, awful lot of money. They have stores all over the big cities in the UK. They’ve got pretty much, a stranglehold on the market, they should step up and pay, what they should be paying when they operate in respective countries and follow their tax laws,” she said.
Apple employs 5,500 — about a quarter of its Europe-based staff — in the Irish city of Cork, where it is the largest private sector employer.
It said it paid Ireland’s 12.5 percent rate on all the income that it generates in the country.
The European Commission in 2014 accused Ireland of dodging international tax rules by letting Apple shelter profits worth tens of billions of dollars from tax collectors in return for maintaining jobs. Apple and Ireland rejected the accusation.
“It’s unfair that they should have that advantage over everybody else and also it’s money that should be being ploughed back to the public and it’s not. If they’re based in Ireland, then the Irish public should be benefiting,” said Londoner Sally Bradley.
Apple made earnings of US18 billion dollars last year, the biggest ever reported by a corporation.
Jules Auchecorne said he didn’t think the ruling would affect customers buying Apple branded devices.
“Is the consumer going to decide not to buy an iPhone on the basis that the EU has taken the view on the fact that maybe they should pay more tax domestically? I think that’s highly unlikely,” he said.
In a statement, Apple accused the European Commission of “launching an effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe.” Apple and Ireland will appeal the decision.
Ireland’s low corporate tax rate has been a cornerstone of economic policy for 20 years, drawing investors from multinational companies whose staff account for almost one in 10 workers in Ireland.