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Apple Inc agrees to pay Ireland over USD 15 billion in back taxes

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Washington : iPhone maker Apple has reportedly reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) to pay Ireland USD 15.46 billion in back taxes by early 2018. Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said that both sides agreed to the terms of an escrow fund for the money, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The payout amounts to 5.9% of the iPad maker’s total cash pile as of August 2017, when the firm reported reserves of USD 261.5 billion, Quartz reported.

However, both Apple and the government of Ireland are appealing the ruling, and it appears Apple expects to recover the money if successful. “We have a dedicated team working diligently and expeditiously with Ireland on the process the European Commission has mandated,” Apple said in a statement given to the WSJ. “We remain confident the General Court of the EU will overturn the Commission’s decision once it has reviewed all the evidence.”

The European Union is forcing Ireland to collect the disputed USD 15.46 billion from Apple. Ireland had claimed that EU regulators were interfering with its national sovereignty. The European Union in 2016 launched a fresh crackdown over taxes paid by Apple. The EU said it planned to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover the money in back taxes from Apple.


According to the EU, the tax deal allowed Apple to pay almost nothing in tax on its European profits between 2003 and 2014. It concluded that the US firm’s Irish tax benefits were illegal, enabling the firm to pay a corporate tax rate of no more than one per cent.

Not just Apple, Amazon was also ordered to repay USD 293 million in back taxes after the European Commission said it had been given an unfair tax deal in Luxembourg. Amazon denied it owed any back tax, saying it did “not receive any special treatment from Luxembourg”, reports IANS.

Trademark case

Separately, the tech giant, on Tuesday, won the right to prevent Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi from registering its “Mi Pad” mobile tablet device as an EU trademark, because the name has been deemed too similar to Apple’s iPad, Reuters reported. The General Court, the EU’s second highest, ruled that registering the Mi Pad as a trademark was not in the public interest, as consumers were likely to be confused by the similarity of the signs. Xiaomi could appeal against the ruling at the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The decision comes three years after Xiaomi filed an application with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) three years ago to register the Mi Pad as a trademark, which forced Apple to file a complaint.

Marketshare

The unavailability of the iPhone X during the three months ended October 2017 has pulled down the market share for Apple’s iPhones in some key regions, while phones running on Google’s Android recorded higher sales, according to data from a research firm.

The market share for Apple Inc’s iPhones, as measured by the sales of its iOS mobile operating system, declined to 32.9% in the United States, from 40.6% a year ago, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s data showed, according to another Reuters report.

In an analysis of smartphone operating system sales for the quarter ended October, Kantar also said iOS’s market share slipped in Japan and key European markets, while Android clocked gains in most markets.

Android is the leader in mobile operating systems and is adopted by a majority of smartphones.