Corporate predators notoriously finagle tax laws at home and abroad to pay as little as possible in what they owe, nowhere near their fair share – at times getting large rebates despite earnings high profits.
Ordinary people and small family businesses like the one I was involved with most of my formal working life have no such advantage. We played by the rules, believing it’s the right way.
Along with whatever disreputable shenanigans it may have been involved in domestically, Apple was caught red-handed evading huge amounts of taxes owed in Europe.
The EU’s antitrust regulator ruled it’s European operations headquartered in Dublin owes around $14.5 billion, no small amount even for a giant like Apple.
Ireland granted the company “undue tax benefits” for over a decade, letting it operate near-tax-free. Apple said it’ll appeal. So will Dublin. The case may drag on for years, likely settling for much less than the above amount.
The European Commission said Apple avoids taxes by “funneling proceeds to its Irish headquarters. All profits from European sales (are) recorded in Ireland,” its government complicit in the arrangement.
Its European operations are virtually tax-free at an effective 2014 rate of 0.005%. Try pulling this off on your own tax return and see where it gets you.
European antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager said “(t)he commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years.”
It’s called grand theft at the expense of ordinary taxpayers required to pay what they owe. Apple’s operating structure in Ireland had no “factual or economic justification,” Vestager added.
The IRS notoriously cracks down hard on ordinary Americans found guilty of tax evasion – courts imposing large fines and at times prison terms.
Yet the Treasury Department supports Apple evading billions of dollars in European taxes owed – a spokesman calling “retroactive(ly) assess(ing)” the company “unfair,” ludicrously claiming “well-established legal principles” – double-standard ones benefitting US corporate giants at the expense of ordinary people and small businesses having to pay what they owe.
Corporate tax cheats routinely get away with evasion on a grand scale. The case against Apple is far from over. It remains to be seen how it’s settled.
And what about other US corporate giants operating the same way at home and abroad – tax avoidance schemes part of their business models.