Paradise Papers: Apple's secret tax bolthole revealed

Mont Orgueil Castle on Jersey the British tax haven

Mont Orgueil Castle on Jersey the British tax haven

Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, the European competition commissioner said she had raised questions about Apple's tax structure before new details were revealed about its affairs in the Paradise Papers leak.

The documents, obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, were reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), along with a number of publications, including the New York Times and the Guardian. "We've paid over $35bn in corporate income taxes over the past three years, plus billions of dollars more in property tax, payroll tax, sales tax and Vat", it said.

Apple on Monday responded to the claims, suggesting that the move was part of its corporate restructuring to comply with Ireland's rules and to ensure that "tax obligations and payments to the United States were not reduced".

The European Union instructed Apple a year ago to pay upto $14.5 billion as sanction of illegal taxes benefits in the Ireland.

The Double Irish allows firms to collect profits through one Irish unit that employs people in Ireland and is tax resident there, and then route those profits to a second Irish subsidiary that claims tax residency in a low-tax island.

In a lengthy statement on its website, Apple says it pays "every dollar it owes in every country around the world", adding: "We believe every company has a responsibility to pay the taxes they owe and we're proud of the economic contributions we make to the countries and communities where we do business".

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The paper said Apple has $US128 billion ($A179 billion) in offshore profits not taxed by the US.

By its part, the manufacturer of sporting goods Nike, in turn, created companies with tax benefits (offshore) in Bermuda, to which the subsidiaries of the company had to pay hundreds of millions of euros to be able to use the rights of the brand.

The head of the world's biggest technology company faced a grilling in Washington over what politicians there claimed were "gimmicks" used to get around U.S. tax laws. "We don't depend on tax gimmicks", he went on.

An Apple spokesman told the New York Times that the company told regulators in the USA and European Commission of the reorganisation of its Irish subsidiaries at the end of 2014, and said the moves did not reduce its tax payments in any country. "A coordinated legislative effort internationally will remove the current tug of war between countries over tax payments and ensure certainty of law for taxpayers". The taxes it pays to countries around the world are based on that principle.

Apple said it complies with laws and supports comprehensive global tax reform and a simpler tax system.

The paper reported Apple, with the help of law firm Appleby, chose Jersey for its 0 percent corporate tax rate.

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