Apple has agreed to pay back a large sum in backdated taxes. The company has confirmed the information to the AFP and Reuters. According to L’Express, Apple could have paid as much as €500 million ($572 million) — the AFP also confirmed that sum.
“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,” the company told Reuters. French authorities can’t confirm the transaction due to tax secrecy.
This isn’t the first time French tax authorities investigated a tech company. Amazon also settled a dispute with French authorities back in February 2018.
In August 2016, the European Commission ruled that Apple had benefited from illegal tax benefits from 2003 to 2014. Like many global companies, Apple has been accused of optimizing its corporate structure to lower the effective corporate tax rate in Europe.
While Apple appealed the decision back in 2016 saying that everything was legal, the company finished paying back the fine in September 2018. There are now $16.4 billion (€14.3 billion) sitting in an escrow account, waiting for the appeal.
And it sounds like Apple should have paid more taxes in France, in particular. French tax authorities focused on profits generated in France over the past 10 years.
Last month, the French government announced it would start taxing big tech companies in France even if they report profits in another country. This tax will be based on revenue generated in France. Other European countries could follow the same model.
Indeed, 127 member countries of the OECD are also discussing new taxation rules for big tech companies. This time, the OECD wants to force companies to report profits in all countries where they operate.