Apple Reaches Agreement On French Back Taxes


Apple has reached an agreement with French authorities over 10 years of back taxes, the US firm told AFP on Tuesday, confirming information published by the French magazine L’Express.

The magazine reported that the firm paid nearly 500 million euros ($570 million) to resolve the case in a confidential settlement reached in December.

“The French tax administration recently concluded a multi-year audit on the company’s French accounts and an adjustment will be published in our public accounts,” Apple told AFP.

The company declined to disclose the amount paid, but a source familiar with the case confirmed to AFP the sum of nearly 500 million euros reported by L’Express.

“We know the important role taxes play in society and we pay our taxes in all the countries where we operate, in complete conformity with laws and practices in force at the local level,” added the company.

French authorities declined to comment citing the confidentiality of tax matters.

According to L’Express, the deal followed several months of talks between Apple and French tax authorities and concerned the small amount of revenue the firm booked in France while the sales it reported in Europe ballooned, thanks in particular to iPhone sales.

L’Express said Apple’s European revenues exploded seven-fold, from 6.6 billion euros in 2008 to 47.7 billion in 2017, and most of it was booked in Ireland where the US firm has its European headquarters.

Ireland has low corporate tax rates that have attracted many multinationals, but there are widespread concerns that firms manipulate accounting rules to escape paying revenues in European countries where taxes are higher.

The French deal with Apple follows one with Amazon, which agreed to pay $252 million (202 million euros) to cover back taxes for the years 2006 to 2010.

The French government is also pushing to impose a tax on digital firms and is expected to unveil legislation later this month that would raise 500 million euros this year.

Apple’s China trademark battle moves to Shanghai

Apple Inc’s trademark battle will on Wednesday move to Shanghai, China following a Shanghai court deliberation on Proview’s request to halt the sale of iPads across the city.

Proview Technology (Shenzhen) claims it owns the iPad trademark in China and a Shenzhen court ruled in its favor last December. Proview has since launched a multi-pronged approach to get Apple’s iPads off the shelves with mixed success.

Apple’s iPad has a huge lead over rival tablet PCs in China with a 76 percent share. But it’s not only the consumer market in China that is important for Apple because the country is also a major production base for the iPad and other Apple products.

Indeed, Proview Technology has already petitioned Chinese customs to stop shipments of the iPad in and out of China, however, authorities have indicated such a ban would be difficult to impose.

Previous court rulings have covered specific retailers in smaller cities, but a Shanghai order, if imposed, would eat into one of Apple’s biggest markets in China, which is home to three of its five flagship stores in China.

Apple disputes Proview’s ownership of the trademark, saying it bought the trademark from Proview in 2009. The firm has appealed the Shenzhen judgment with a higher court hearing set for Feb 29 in China’s southern province of Guangdong.

Apple’s Shanghai unit is the defendant in the case due to be heard on Wednesday. Losing could mean the city’s three Apple retail stores would have to stop selling the

popular tablet PCs. Apple has two other flagship stores in China, both in Beijing.

Over the past week, Proview’s efforts have borne fruit as local media reported that certain cities have started enforcing Proview’s request to remove the iPads.

Proview’s lawyers said on Friday it had won a lawsuit in the southern city of Huizhou against a retailer selling Apple’s iPads, not boding well for its case in Shanghai.

“The Proview people probably remain fairly confident, in view of their success in Guangdong province already,” head of Mayer Brown’s intellectual property practice in Hong Kong, Kenny Wong, said of the Shanghai hearing on Wednesday.