The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which became world famous after the publication last year of the documents of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which helped conceal illegal enrichment for leaders of many countries, published a new pack of investigations this week. This time at the disposal of journalists were data from another offshore registrar, Appleby. One of its major customers is Apple, which uses Appleby to manage offshore companies that are necessary to evade taxes.
For the first time, Apple was accused of tax evasion in 2013, when it turned out that it uses its Irish unit for this purpose. The fact is that US laws only tax companies that are registered in the US, and Ireland’s laws allow not paying taxes to companies that are actually managed from outside the country. Thus, having registered a subsidiary in Ireland and having channeled all the profits from sales outside the US, the company could not pay taxes anywhere. A year after this scheme was revealed, the leadership of Ireland changed the legislation, closing the loophole. According to ICIJ, after that Apple decided to use offshore.
The fact is that Ireland for some reason gave companies that used the scheme (it’s not just Apple), several months to withdraw money from the country. Apple decided to take them under the jurisdiction of Jersey (Crown possession of the UK, not subject to the laws of the EU). Two of the three companies used for the Irish scheme, turned from Irish to Jersey. All the international profits went to the Irish company, which transferred it to Jersey; in the end, taxes again do not have to pay. The authorities of Ireland wanted to cover this scheme, but the Institute of Tax Executives managed to dissuade them (its management itself used offshore).
However, a complex scheme with the use of offshore soon became meaningless. In parallel with closing the loophole, which Apple used until 2013, the Irish authorities came up with another. They offered a long tax holiday for businesses that will transfer their intangible assets to Ireland. It is possible that Apple transferred the intangible assets of its Jersey units to the Irish office, which again made it impossible to pay taxes. ICIJ failed to establish whether Apple used this scheme or continued to use the tax residency on the island of Jersey.
In response to the publication of ICIJ, Apple issued an official statement entitled “Facts about Apple’s tax payments.” In it, the company said that it is the world’s largest taxpayer and generally “believes that every company has the responsibility to pay its taxes.” In addition, Apple announced that the ICIJ investigation contains many errors. So, changes in the structure of Apple in 2015 were not aimed at reducing taxes or withdrawing assets from Ireland, but at maintaining high allocations to the US budget (now they are, according to the company, 35%). As a result, Apple in the form of taxes gives 21% of its revenues outside the US. Note that the ICIJ spoke about the changes in the Apple chip structure not in 2015, but in 2014.
Fat in Apple’s statement highlighted the following: “In Apple, we comply with the laws, and if the system changes, we obey.” To what extent this is refuted by ICIJ’s investigation is unclear; in fact, the investigative journalists explained how exactly Apple “obeys”. In addition, Apple said that it did not make any changes that would entail a reduction in tax payments in any country. Indeed, according to ICIJ, tax payments did not decrease, but remained zero. Finally, Apple explains the transfer of assets in Jersey desire not to reduce contributions to the US budget, not obyasyaya relationship between taxation at home and transfer money between foreign jurisdictions.