Corriere Canadese

03appleirlandaComedians and jokers united

by The Honourable Joe Volpe, Publisher

TORONTO - If you are a comedian, you can rise to the top of the biggest corporations in the world.

Take Tim Cook for example. He is the CEO of Apple, the multinational giant, now the target of the European Commission because it has “underpaid” (sorry I could not resist trying my hand at comedy) taxes over between 2003 and 2014 by a mind-numbing $19 Billion Canadian.

The EC, last week, ruled that Apple received an “unfair” subsidy (illegal under the rules, for those of you without a sense of humour) for its operations in Ireland, where it employs 6,000 workers. Mr. Cook denies asking for or receiving any special favours.

Even Manna from Heaven required an invocation; but this is comedy, remember.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the CEO claimed, “… in any country where we operate, Apple follows the law and we pay all of the taxes we owe.” Giggle. Giggle. An unnamed financial analyst in the same article mused that Apple spends more on accountants and lawyers in order to avoid paying taxes than it does on research and development. He says, I paraphrase, that Apple pays $ 65 CDN for every $1.31 million in profit.

What are you paying?
The European ruling claimed that Apple was paying less than 1% in taxes when the European corporate rate is 12.5%. In fact, the investigations, prompted by aggrieved competitors based in the USA, found that, towards the end of the period in question, Apple was paying only .005!

Astounding. The Irish government also denies giving Apple special treatment and will appeal the decision. Are you laughing yet?
Ireland (population 4.58 million) desperately needs jobs. Some global companies located there because as an English-speaking country, it provides convenient access to the European market- the largest economy in the world. A favoured position now potentially improved as a result of the Brexit vote.

Ireland receives approximately CDN $ 210 Million in European transfers than it pays in membership fees to the European Union. Apple competitors argue that this amounts to a potential CDN $ 34,000 subsidy, per year, for every job Apple creates in Ireland.

Are you still laughing? Apple declared revenues of $306 Billion (Canadian) in 2015, according to its press releases. The Government of Canada projected $ 290 billion in revenues projected for its 2015-2016 Budget plan.

Canada is running a deficit of approximately $30 billion per annum, and growing. Apple declared a NET profit of 22% on earnings. Resume your giggles. Governments always claim they need more revenues (taxes) in order to provide services and to stay afloat. People and corporations want the services but prefer not to pay.

The Los Angeles Times reports that US corporations, like, McDonald’s and Starbucks, are holding CDN $2.62 Trillion in foreign accounts in order to avoid paying taxes in the USA (current rate table: 12-39% but averaging at 12.1%). The Apple experience suggests that those corporations won’t even pay the European rate of 12.5%.

Tim Cook’s annual compensation package? Roughly CDN $ 13 million …. oh, plus the CDN $525 million in stocks that have not yet vested.

(Thursday 8 September 2016)

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About the Author

Joseph Volpe

Joseph Volpe