No, Really, Apple Just Isn't Doing Any Tax Avoidance In Europe - Forbes: "Various of the English newspapers like to run stories on how the big tech companies are avoiding tax in the UK and Europe. Every week or two we get another piece saying that Facebook, or Amazon, Apple, have been avoiding tax and that this is an outrage, must be stopped etc. The sad thing about all of these stories is that the people writing them just don’t seem to understand the basics of the European corporation tax system. The latest story is the Sunday Times with Apple. That paper’s gated so here’s the Telegraph explanation of it:
Apple is estimated to have avoided more than £550m in tax in Britain in 2011. Its latest accounts show UK turnover at just over £1bn and profit at £81.3m, generating a tax bill of £14.4m.. . . So, clearly, Apple has been tax avoiding, right? Sadly, no, that’s where the problem comes in. . . . What they’re actually doing is selling the hardware through their Irish company. This one, right here. They do have AppleStores in the UK, yes, and it’s the retail sales from those that provide that £1 billion turnover and that small tax bill. But if you buy online from Apple you get your kit from Ireland. If you’re a dealer, a reseller, a shop, an electronics chain, a telecoms chain, you get your kit from Ireland. As, more than likely, do the AppleStores get their machines through Ireland. Yes, Ireland has a much lower rate of corporation tax than other EU countries: but this still isn’t tax avoidance. For we now have to look at the “but did the lawmakers mean this?” test. And the truth is, yes they did. . . . "
So don't blame Apple and the other corporations--blame the governments!
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