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The billions in profits which they have accrued on their European operations in previous years, hitherto untaxed, apparently is considered to generate a US tax liability (presumably because that money is owed to the US parent company, in the form of royalties or whatever).
So there seems to be an ambiguity about where these profits should be taxed.
The fact that Ireland previously let them get away with paying no tax on their European profits, and that the EU let Ireland get away with that, was a tacit subsidy accorded to Ireland when it was struggling to emerge from an Upper Neolithic economic status. But Ireland has one of the highest per capita incomes in the EU, and there is no longer any reason to continue the subsidy. Is there a danger that Apple will shift their operations out of Ireland? Where to? They need a base in the EU... Bulgaria perhaps? I think not.
None of this speaks to the legal position of course, and the Commission seems likely to lose; I don't think it matters much to them. I suspect them of doing this in order to mobilize public opinion in favour of severe constraints on transnational tax avoidance, and perhaps even standardising company tax rates.
In which case, I wish them all success, and indeed they have already achieved a great deal in that direction.
It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue
- Queen Elizabeth II
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