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EU finance ministers back commission ruling that Apple owes billions of euro

EU finance ministers back commission ruling that Apple owes billions of euro

The Apple decision is only one of several faulting worldwide companies - and the countries hosting them - for exploiting European exemptions to pay minimal taxes.

Following an in-depth state aid investigation launched in June 2014, the European Commission has concluded that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple have substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991.

"The story of the Apple investigation began in the United States".

There will be a focus on the "further cross-border harmonisation of tax rules" in the face of "new global challenges" in the area of taxation at today's meeting.

Serena crashes as Pliskova, Kerber set-up US Open final duel
Since the start of the grass-court season she has won 23 of her 27 matches and she is now on an 11-match winning run. However, the night at Flushing Meadows ended up with a jubilant Kerber showing her class to dispose of Wozniacki.

Is it not too late to question the tax agreement that was signed 20 years ago between Apple and Ireland? It sells itself as a haven for major U.S. corporations on the basis of very, very low taxes. Governments are required to sign an inter-governmental agreement with the U.S. to make FATCA operational or the financial institutions in their countries will suffer significant financial repercussions. It has access to the single market and a highly skilled workforce. The first dispute will be whether tax competition is allowed between members of the European Union or whether they are obliged to adhere to a harmonised tax structure. These are the power of respective member countries.

For years, worldwide organizations including the United Nations, the Overseas Economic Cooperation and Development and the Paris regulator, Financial Action Task Force, have been engaged in creating and implementing global standards to check tax evasion. The tax arrangement between Apple and Ireland allowed Apple to pay tax @ 1%( later on reduced to 0.005%) instead of normal tax @12.5% in Ireland. The U.S. statutory corporate tax rate is 35% while the effective rate (what corporations pay on average) is 27.1%. The country then enabled the creation of "a unique legal entity that allowed Apple to make the argument that although it has people and activity going on in Ireland, the dominant decision-making process and rights to the intellectual property belonged outside of Ireland".

Like warring distant cousins at a will reading, Spain and Austria have tripped and shoved each other for the pole position in the beggars grid, and are frantically leafing through ledgers to see how much Apple may have pilfered through the years. "We're focusing on this because we are American, [and] because it's Apple that is at stake", he says. In a way it means that Apple did not pay taxes anywhere i.e. neither in country of sale and neither in the country where it was incorporated. Amazingly, competition in other areas where they enjoyed advantages over developing countries was promoted, but in financial services, where small countries were beginning to make a mark, competition was rejected. As a outcome, companies such as Apple that take advantage of friendly tax regimes may have to look elsewhere for future investments, warn experts. Ireland is widely regarded as a tax haven country. The question that arises is whether the WTO and European Union failed to ensure free flow of fair trade and failed to ensure indiscriminate taxes in the first place itself.

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