Friday, September 2, 2016

Will Apple make or break Europe?

Launderin' the green

According to the European Commission, the biggest company in the world, Apple, owes Ireland an astounding 13 billion euros in taxes. That's almost $20 billion Canadian, manna from heaven for the struggling country. The EC says that Ireland broke EU's state aid laws, and must recoup this money. But the Irish government says it doesn't want the money, and can't be forced to go after it. What is going on?

Developed countries are growing concerned they will not be able to capture enough in taxes to maintain their high living standards. That’s why the OECD has been working with the G-20 and other nations since 2013 to design a Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) package, in hopes of coordinating actions internationally to reduce tax avoidance by corporations and individuals. The European Commission’s ramped up investigations of “aggressive tax planning,” which produced the Apple ruling, are a result of the same anxiety. In Canada the federal government put aside $444 million in the 2016 budget to do something of the same: follow the money owed by Canadian taxpayers and bring as much of it as possible back to the public treasury.

But what happens when a government doesn't want to collect outstanding taxes?  (more...)



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