Although sales plummeted by £23m in the year to the end of last September, Apple’s pre-tax profits totalled up to £33.7m. The tech giant paid a £13m dividend to its parent in Ireland, newly-filed accounts for Apple Retail UK show.
In August 2016, the European Commission ruled that Apple’s banking of its European profits in Ireland, which has a low corporation tax rate, amounted to billions of pounds of illegal state aid.
Ireland’s tax arrangements with Apple between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to attribute sales to a “head office” that only existed on paper and could not have generated such profits. The result was that Apple avoided tax on almost all the profit generated from its multi-billion-euro sales of iPhones and other products across the EU’s single market.
Last September, Ireland collected more than €14bn (£12.3bn) in back taxes and interest from Apple on the orders of Brussels. Pending an appeal, the cash is being held in an escrow account.
EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who has been leading the effort to curb Silicon Valley excesses, faced criticism from Donald Trump. “She hates the United States perhaps worse than any person I’ve ever met,” he said.
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Since 2016, Apple’s tax bill from its 38 British stores has been on a downhill spiral from a high of £13.8m. Apple and other technology giants have been criticised for using complex structures to minimise tax payments.
“As the largest taxpayer in the world, we know the important role tax payments play in society. We pay all that we owe according to tax laws and local customs wherever we operate,” Apple said.
Shortly after the news of tax payment decrease was announced, Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s British design chief, said he would leave after almost 30 years to start his own firm.