AU$9bn Apple profit moved from Australia to Ireland: Report

AU$9bn Apple profit moved from Australia to Ireland: Report

Summary: Apple has moved almost AU$1 billion of profit each year for 10 years out of Australia, and into a Double Irish sandwich that allows the company to pay less than 50 cents of tax on every $1000 of income.

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TOPICS: Apple, Australia
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US technology giant Apple has moved almost AU$9 billion in untaxed profits from its Australian operations to an Irish tax haven in the past 10 years, media reports say.

Fairfax Media claims to have obtained a decade's worth of financial accounts for Apple Sales International, the Irish company at the centre of Apple's international tax arrangements.

The accounts reveal the mark-up that Apple charges for intellectual property on its global products, The Australian Financial Review has reported.

Last year, Apple reported pre-tax earnings in Australia of only AU$88.5 million after sending an estimated AU$2 billion from its Australian sales to Ireland via Singapore, where Apple negotiated a secret tax deal in 2009, it said.

Apple Sales International has reported more than $100 billion of profits in the last five years, but its accounts indicate that it has paid less than 50 cents in tax on every $1000 of income, the AFR said.

The report comes after last month's group of 20 finance ministers meeting decided that by November, the world's top economies would start to deliver effective and practical measures to counter tax avoidance.

G20 members expect to start automatically exchanging information on tax matters from 2015.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said the report showed that Apple is "rotten" and the government must act.

"When it comes to paying tax, it seems that this apple is rotten to the core," Senator Xenophon told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"This, if true, is a scandal."

Apple has been contacted for comment.

Topics: Apple, Australia

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21 comments
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  • This is the Feel Good story of the decade.

    Companies skipping out on paying taxes that could be used for the common good. Damn I feel so good now. Apple the Gold Standard! Yeah.
    greywolf7
    • And how is "Gold Standard"? Google and MS, et cetera, all use Ireland ...

      ... schemes to avoid double taxation of their profits.
      DDERSSS
      • Very true

        All those stories about how everyone copies Apple, well in this case its true. This scheme, good or bad, was basically perfected by Apple.
        Rann Xeroxx
  • Apple is slimey

    Gouge customers then evade taxes. Not cool.
    Sean Foley
    • I wonder

      How many other companies do the same thing? If Microsoft or Google did the same thing would they also get your condemnation or would they get your seal of approval for saving money since they are not Apple? And BTW I - as someone with a bit of an Apple bias when it comes to iOS - do condemn this whole slimy bit of "business" no matter if it's Apple or ANY company legal or not.
      athynz
      • they do already!

        tech companies appears to be the major problem, we can't really avoid spending our money with them... i wonder how far into other industries this goes
        stevene-88600
      • If the U.S. would change its *$*^%*&* tax laws.....

        Apple (and many other companies) could bring money into the U.S. without having to pay a horrendous tax penalty. Don't blame Apple! Blame the stupid, greedy politicians!
        Userama
        • Actually

          Blame the spending. Defence, farm, food stamps, welfare, oil subsidies, pensions, obamacare, etc. There is so much waste. A trillion if deficits and 17 trillion in debt. And its projected to skyrocket as baby boomers retire, use SS and medical, pension payouts, etc.

          Personally I think we need to cut corporate taxes to keep the US attractive to business. But we REALLY need to do some cutting and deep on everything.
          Rann Xeroxx
    • Re: Apple is slimy....

      Just click bait fodder for you. Can you say you've never had a Starbucks coffee ?
      5735guy
  • If it was legal

    If it was legal than this is a non story. Stop with the click bait zdnet.
    Rogifan
    • Nota non-story...

      Even if they obeyed all the laws, as written, it doesn;t make it morally right. Calling out immoral behaviours is good reporting. Just because you like Apple and their products doesn't make what they are doing here "right".
      Master668
      • What is morally right about taxation?

        What is a fair amount of tax? It's one thing to tax everyone, including companies to help with infrastructure and education but governments across the world spend money on a whole crap load of things that don't fit into the common good categories.
        relwolf
      • Morality has nothing to do with it

        Companies, pay taxes based on the tax laws. If you think they should pay more taxes have the laws changed. However, when tax laws are changed for business the end results will be you and I will pay more taxes as well.
        If you think what companies are doing is morally wrong, then why not you stop writing off your house mortgage, taking all the deductions your county, state, and government give you. At tax time pay the top percentage on your gross income, without deductions, that also would be a moral thing to do.
        By saying they have a moral obligation you display a complete lack of business understanding. You must be a worker-bee not a business owner. If you are still thinking they have a moral obligation again I will use you as an example: so that the business you work for can hire someone out of work ask to have your pay cut in half. Recall that would be a moral thing to do, resulting in another family with a job and income.
        Business have a fiduciary responsibility to their share holders folks that invest with them not customers, not government. When they do not fulfill their fiduciary responsibility they are sued and the government steps in. Try walking that tightrope.
        Again, morality has nothing to do with any of this. By the way, have you read the amount of money Apple has paid in taxes in the USA, and other countries. Yes, a staggering amount and those countries want ever more money to squander. If you remain on your high-morality horse, check what those countries spend the tax money on that is morally reprehensible.
        BubbaJones_
    • What "big oil" and "big pharm" does is legal as well

      Yet we hold these tech companies on some sort of pedestal when they are just money grubbing as any of these "demonized" segments. What I find far more BS is not that they try to get out of taxes, they are doing the limit of what they need for their shareholders but the fact that the vast majority of taxes in the US go to social programs and its these hypocrites at these companies that are alway spouting off their mouths about the social good. Its as bad as them talking about carbon foot prints as they fly in their private jets or live in their 5 - 20,000 sqf houses.

      Be greedy, it's how capitalism works. Just shut the hell up trying to force me to pay more for social and green policies that you cannot be bothered to pay into.
      Rann Xeroxx
  • Yes once upon a time Slavery was legal too!

    Didn't make it RIGHT!
    martin_js
  • Many companies do it.

    Name anyone who would pay a tax voluntarily. Yeah right. We all squeeze every dime from our returns.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Irish_arrangement
    Johnpford
    • What percentage of your income are you paying?

      My wife are paying 40%+. Why is there not a "occupy silicon valley"? Some of these companies are pay 2%. We know that D.C. is corrupt. We know that tech spends BILLIONS on lobbyist.

      How come we are not more angry?
      Rann Xeroxx
  • Difference

    There is a difference in tax evasion and tax avoidance.

    It's pretty remarkable that the govts can easily track and trace my petty money and funds... but can't seem to get a grasp of the corporate billions flying around and off shore! There should be an international rule... you pay tax WHERE you earned the revenue... period!
    SpankyFrost
  • two questions

    is it only apple that is doing this?

    is it illegal?

    if it's not apple then they need to not single out one company but all of them. going after the biggest fish has never worked. ever.

    if it's not illegal then they need to change the laws.
    oneleft
    • Apple is 1#

      There are a lot of big tech companies doing this. Apple was really the one that perfected the money laundering (call it what it is) in Ireland and the Sandwich Islands and most of the others followed suit. Apple is the biggest, with the biggest profits, and therefore the most billions in evasion.
      Rann Xeroxx