Paradise Papers reveal Apple moved bits of biz offshore

Cupertino denies avoidance

Apple has continued to avoid the heavier taxes that some countries would like to exact by moving parts of its company to Jersey, the Paradise Papers have revealed.

Outlets that have perused the papers – a large scale leak of financial documents from offshore law firm Appleby – say they show how the company used the firm to help it scout around to keep its tax costs low.

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The BBC and the Guardian say Apple sent the Jersey company a questionnaire concerning matters including the public visibility of its records, the possibility of special arrangements with the government and how stable such deals would likely be for each potential location.

This was alleged by many to be a response to a 2015 change to tax law in Ireland, where its important subsidiaries, Apple Operations Europe (which holds its overseas income) and Apple Sales International (which used to own some of the company's IP rights) were based. Both were moved to Jersey, according to revelations in the Paradise papers.

Apple denied avoidance, saying in a statement the problem was that the EU was trying to steal tax dollars meant for Uncle Sam. Since the majority of its design work and engineering is carried out in the US, the majority of its tax bill should be owed to the US Treasury, which is itself concerned about the EU's attempt to take money destined for its own coffers.

Cupertino also claims that it remains the world's biggest taxpayer, and says that its move to Jersey was to comply with the new Irish laws, and was not intended nor has in fact created a tax benefit for the firm.

It said: "A coordinated legislative effort internationally will remove the current tug of war between countries over tax payments and ensure certainty of law for taxpayers."

Ireland's approach to Apple's tax payments has been under scrutiny by the European Commission since 2014, and the state was ordered last year to reclaim €13bn in illegal tax benefits from the company. The EC then took Ireland to the European Court of Justice earlier this month when the Irish government had failed to reclaim any of the money since the order was given.

Jon Thompson, permanent secretary for HMRC, told MPs yesterday that the organisation had requested access to the Papers, but had been denied the chance to examine them. ®

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