After years of battling, Apple has agreed to pay back taxes to France. The news comes via Reuters and suggests that Apple has reached an agreement with the French tax authorities over back taxes. The Cupertino tech giant will pay a reported $571 million in back taxes according to French media reports.
Apple, like many other tech companies, have come under increasing scrutiny in France and other European countries over taxes. The companies, like they do here in the United States, leverage tax loopholes to lower their overall tax bill. That, according to France, has given them a larger marketshare and has also hurt European-based companies in the market. French President Emmanuel Macron has long vocalized the need to standardize tax laws so these loopholes can be closed so tech companies have to pay their share of taxes to do business in the country.
France is not alone. Germany and the United Kingdom have also been critical of the tactics used by tech companies in their countries while the European Union as a whole is working to sort out the tax issue. Austria has already approved at “tech tax”. Apple, like other tech companies, are not necessarily doing anything illegal. They are simply leveraging the mechanisms available to lower their tax bill.
For their part, the French division of Apple released the following statement
“As a multinational company, Apple is regularly audited by fiscal authorities around the world,” Apple France said in a statement. “The French tax administration recently concluded a multi-year audit on the company’s French accounts, and those details will be published in our public accounts.”Reuters
Based on this statement, it looks like it could be next quarter’s financial reports before we know the true settlement cost.