Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Apple to “get ready” to pay up, as he and counterparts from other EU nations lined up behind a finding that the technology giant owes billions of euros due to more than a decade of improperly low taxation.
By the time Apple gets around to paying, the bill could be 19 billion euro ($21 billion) thanks to interest. On the last day of an EU finance ministers’ meeting focused on ways to harmonise tax rules for international companies, Dijsselbloem told reporters that these “have an obligation to pay taxes in a fair way”.
International tax loopholes are a thing of the past, he said. Apple will have to pay back taxes both in the United States and Europe and needs to get ready to do that.
Apparently it is not going to be much different in the UK either. Philip Hammond, his British counterpart, said the EU was keen “to make sure that international corporations pay the right tax at the right place. “That’s the fair way to do it, and we are going to make sure it happens.”
Austrian Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling said Austrian, Italian and France tax authorities are following the case closely with the option of posting claims, and a senior OECD official attending the meeting suggested they could have right to do so.
Angel Gurria, who heads the 35-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, cited the EU Commission ruling on Apple and invited other nations that might have a claim “to come forward”.