a rotten apple .....
US tech giant Apple has shifted an estimated $8.9 billion in untaxed profits from its Australian operations to a tax haven structure in Ireland in the last decade, an investigation by The Australian Financial Review has found.
Last year Apple reported pre-tax earnings in Australia of only $88.5 million after it sent an estimated $2 billion of income from its Australian sales to Ireland via Singapore, where Apple negotiated a secret tax deal in 2009.
The Financial Review has obtained 10 years worth of financial accounts for Apple Sales International, the secretive Irish company at the heart of Apple's international tax arrangements, which reveal the mark-up Apple charges for intellectual property on its products around the world.
"Newspapers have had lots of stories about tax avoidance by Microsoft and Google and Apple, but there are hardly any numbers," said University of Sydney senior lecturer of taxation law Antony Ting, who has published a review of Apple's tax arrangements.
"Now, for the first time, there are numbers for the profits that escaped from Australian tax."
The G20 meeting in Sydney last week gave US tech giants Google, Microsoft and Apple a deadline to reform their tax arrangements, warning that "by the Brisbane summit [in November], we will start to deliver effective, practical and sustainable measures" against international tax avoidance.
Apple Sales International has reported more than $US100 billion ($112 billion) of profits in the last five years. Its accounts show it has paid less than 50¢ in tax on every $1000 of income.