UnNews:EC demands Apple pay more tax

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EC demands Apple pay more tax

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01 September 2016


DUBLIN, Ireland -- The European Union has demanded that the Republic of Ireland increase the tax bill to US computer giant Apple Inc. by €13bn, claiming that Apple's Irish "European Headquarters" is a thinly disguised sham to avoid taxes.

Apple has availed itself of an amicable deal that Ireland also struck with several other large companies in 2014 to reverse its stagnant economy after the Europe-wide economic crash of 2009. The Apple Headquarters, in a bedroom above a pub on the high street in Galway, employs a chambermaid and a filing clerk. The smallish suite houses twenty beige filing cabinets and an answering machine with which to field requests from the EU for proof of taxes paid. Unfortunately for Apple, there have been few of these, as it famously pays a tax rate of 0.005% of its European revenue.

Nevertheless, Ireland says the arrangement has generated over 10,000 jobs, helping bring much-needed economic stability and jobs for the people. For one thing, the answering machine requires frequent wiping with a damp cloth, and uncountable couriers are gainfully employed carrying documents to and from the filing cabinets.

Ireland made an explicit decision and is just as opposed to collecting the tax revenue as Apple is to paying it. Apple even developed a limited edition product — the renowned ‘Potato Mac’ — in honour of the fruitful partnership.

The United Kingdom recently voted to leave the EU, in the notorious Brexit vote, leaving the EU much more time to pursue its destiny as a high-tax, job-killing nation with which all Europeans can identify. Commissioner Margarethe Vestager said: “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules.” Apple quickly criticised the EC for ignoring Ireland’s sovereignty and its national tax laws: “(Apple Inc.) follows the law and pays all taxes we owe. The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple's history in Europe”. Ms Vestager said there is no such effort, provided people continue avoiding all references to the 1940's. Ireland's finance minister, Michael Noonan, piled on and said that his government would also file an appeal.

If the appeal fails, though, and the legally binding deal between a sovereign government and an employer is found to be ‘illegal,’ it would enable the EU to invoke the Economic and Monetary Union and collect the €13bn in tax itself. The EU would then supervise the task of distributing to Ireland the money that Ireland claims not to want, subject to the huge bloc of votes from France and Germany in the European Parliament, which would have to find that there are no greater crises needing the revenue.

Vestager has already imposed fines on US businesses Google, Starbucks and Amazon. There would be no way for Apple to pay the €13bn except for, say, slightly increasing the price of every iPhone sold in America. Europeans anticipated a forceful statement from the American President, who should have no patience for job-killing measures that raise costs for his constituents. Mr Obama has told Britons that a post-Brexit UK would be too piddling to negotiate with, and that his trade negotiations would instead be made with the EC. However, he was on the Back Nine and has not yet arrived at the clubhouse.

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