What does Apple's £11bn Irish tax bill mean for Amazon and McDonald's?

APPLE'S staggering £11bn Irish tax bill will have the likes of Amazon and McDonald's sitting up and taking notice as their own affairs are probed by an EU on the march.

In October, the EU Commission ordered Starbucks and Fiat to pay 20 to 30 million euros for benefiting from so-called sweetheart tax deals in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The commission is now investigating Amazon and McDonald's for similar tax deals it deems are illegal.

Those rulings could be doled out in the next six to 12 months.

McDonald's are being investigated over their corporation tax affairs in Luxembourg, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The EU Commission is also probing Amazon over their tax arrangement the western European country, the International Business Times reports.



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Any company that is deemed to have received a special deal from a European government could be end up targeted by antitrust watchdogs in the near future.

The EU launched investigation into Apple's European tax arrangement in 2014 under the suspicion that Irish authorities were purposefully miscalculating and ultimately underestimating the firms' taxable profit on products like iPhone and iPads.

The multinational corporation is said to have secured a tax advantage not available to other companies, which ultimately amounted to state aid and breached EU antitrust law.

Both Irish authorities and Apple have repeatedly denied breaching these rules.

The case has irked the US Treasury, which earlier this month published a paper accusing EU authorities of unfairly targeting US companies in antitrust probes.

Lewis Crofts, global chief correspondent at antitrust trade publication Mlex, explained that the US is worried that Apple's cash won't make it back to the US. "They say 'it's our money, you have no right to take it'. That's the big fight."

Apple is expected to appeal against the ruling in European General Courts and take it to the Court of Justice if the first appeal fails.

The tech giant's chief executive Tim Cook has already branded the investigation "political crap".

They have been slapped with the bill just a week before the launch of the iPhone 7 in San Francisco.

While the ruling would ultimately benefit Irish government coffers, Mr Crofts says Ireland will also appeal against the EU Commission's decision.

"The irony is that there will be domestic pressure to accept this money, but what Ireland knows is that, in this instance, the decision makes it much less attractive to invest in."

Ireland has benefited from £182bn of US foreign investment in the last 20 years.

700 US firms based there now employ roughly 130,000 people.

Multi-national giants including Intel, Facebook, and Google use Ireland as a bridgehead into the European market because of the country's low corporation tax of 12.5% and generous tax breaks.


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