Silicon Valley giant Apple Inc. has agreed to pay 318 million euros ($348 million) owed to Italy’s tax department, according to a report in La Repubblica Wednesday. In 2013, the company's Italian subsidiary, Apple Italia, was accused of failing to declare more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of revenue to the tax authorities.
Italian investigators found a huge gap between the company's revenues and taxes it paid. Between 2008 and 2013, Apple Italia paid 30 million euros ($32.77 million) against its income of over 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) during the time. According to La Repubblica, Wednesday’s settlement followed months of negotiations and Apple agreed to pay the full amount demanded by the Italian authorities in relation to the 2008-13 period.
A tax office spokesman confirmed the newspaper's report to local media sources but did not divulge further details of the confidential case. The tech giant had previously denied attempting tax evasion on profits made in countries around the world.
Prosecutors accused Apple of funneling profits from Italy to a subsidiary based in Ireland which has one of the lowest rates of corporate tax in the EU. The investigation found that Apple Italia was listed as a “consultant” for Apple Ireland, which allowed it to transfer its profits and reduce its taxable income in Italy.
The Apple settlement comes amid mounting criticism of tax arrangements of large multinational companies which use their cross-border corporate structures to reduce their tax burden. Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook described tax evasion accusations filed against his company as “political crap” and insisted: "we pay ever tax dollar we owe."
During the televised interview on CBS, Cook argued that Apple pays the biggest tax tab in the United States and that it keeps more money overseas than other companies because two-thirds of its business is done outside the U.S.
At the G-20 meet in Turkey in November, world leaders promised to work together to crack down on tax loopholes along with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. According to an OECD report, national governments the world over lose $100 billion to $240 billion, or 4 to 10 percent of global tax revenues, annually because of tax-minimizing schemes employed by multinationals.
“Corporate taxpayers continue finding ways to pay less, while individuals end up footing the bill,” Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, said in a related but separate report.