The Uniting Church has welcomed a finding that could see Apple forced to pay billions in back taxes after shifting global earnings to Ireland, where the multinational paid minimal tax.
The European Commission ruled that the Irish tax authority’s treatment of the technology giant’s corporate profits was illegal state aid under European Union law.
Apple will be forced to pay up to $19 billion plus interest to the Irish government.
This amount may have to be shared with governments from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and the US if they choose to claim a share of the profits that they lost through Apple’s tax avoidance.
“This is welcome news, as it has exposed the dodgy secret deals the Irish government has been willing to cut with multinational corporations to cheat other governments out of the taxes they should receive,” Dr Mark Zirnsak, director of the Synod Justice and International Mission Unit, said.
“Tax dodging denies governments of vital funds that are needed to provide hospitals, aged care, schools and mental health services. The European Commission ruling exposes that many of these dirty tax deals are not only unethical and immoral, but also illegal.”
In 2014, Apple enjoyed a tax rate of just 0.005 per cent in Ireland, shifting their profits from around the world to Ireland to avoid paying taxes in other countries.
The Irish government and Apple have stated they plan to appeal the decision.
“The Senate Committee inquiry into corporate tax avoidance in Australia has exposed that it is not just multinational technology corporations that are involved in global tax avoidance, but that it occurs across most business sectors, including pharmaceuticals, mining, media and finance,” Dr Zirnsak said.
“Governments, including the Australian government, have made significant steps forward in introducing measures to curb tax avoidance by multinational corporations.
“In this case involving Apple and the Irish government, the Australian government should be supporting global standards that would force governments to reveal any special tax arrangements they grant to specific corporations where those arrangements will impact on the tax collected by other governments.”
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