The European Commission is accusing the company Apple of owing around $14.5 billion dollars in back taxes to Europe. The European Commission claims that Apple made a deal with Ireland, where Apple has operations in , to pay an extremely low tax rate. The European commission says that this type of deal is illegal, and that Apple owes all of the money that it avoided in taxes. Apple, however, claims they never made a deal with Ireland, and therefore paid the full amount of taxes they were asked to pay. Ireland is also denying that they broke any European tax laws. Further investigation by the European Commission found that Apple in fact records all of its profits that it earns in Europe to have been entirely earned in Ireland, thus avoiding all tax rates that are higher than Ireland’s in Europe.
As we can see, this situation is simply full of possible ethical trouble. That is, of course, all dependent on who is right in this situation. Is the European Commission in the right, and Apple and Ireland have been working together to give Apple huge tax breaks on its European income? If so, then Apple has unfairly kept a large portion of taxes they owe to Europe simply to make a slightly higher profit overseas. As well, Ireland would have had to make unfair and illegal tax arrangements for Apple just to keep their European base of operations in Ireland, thus generating more money for Ireland’s economy.
But what if the European Commission is wrong, and no tax laws have been broken between Apple and Ireland? You could then make the argument that the European Commission is trying to squeeze Apple, a very rich company, for more money than they have already paid in taxes in order to benefit the European economy.
In my own personal opinion, I believe that Apple and Ireland are in the wrong, and I base this opinion off two facts. The first fact is that the European Commission is a part of the European Union, and thus is expected to act with integrity and honesty. The second fact that I can base my opinion off of is the fact that it was discovered that Apple was recording all of its sales in Europe to have been in Ireland so that the only tax they would have to pay is Ireland’s tax rate. This should be enough to convince most people that Apple has already done illegal things in Europe, so nothing is stopping them from working out a lower tax deal with Ireland.