Apple’s main Irish arm paid more than $8.5 billion in corporation tax in 2021
Apple’s main Irish entity paid three times as much corporation tax last year as it did in 2020, according to accounts just filed. The financial accounts of Apple Operations International Ltd and more than 20 connected companies filed with the Dublin Companies Office reveal details of the profits, costs and taxes paid by the global tech giant’s non-US businesses.
Apple Operations International Ltd’s filing says it paid $8.595 billion (€8.13 billion) in corporation tax in 2021. That figure is more than three times the tax bill of 2.593 billion euros of the company in 2020.
Adding deferred taxes for various reasons, the total liability for the year 2021 comes to $11.575 billion, according to the filing.
The filing does not specify where the tax was paid, but most likely was paid here, where the company is based. The accounts cite an “appropriate rate of 12.5pc” for the entity which is equal to the corporate tax rate here.
The filing says the total shown for tax paid does not include parent Apple’s U.S. corporate tax bill. Globally, Apple, whose CEO is Tim Cook, previously reported that its total tax bill for 2021 was $25 billion.
The increase in tax paid by the tech giant is part of a pattern of increased corporate tax revenue collected by the Irish Treasury in recent years. In 2021, the government collected a record €15.3 billion in corporation tax. This amount has fallen from €11.8 billion in 2020 to a total of only €4.67 billion collected in 2014 – before the abolition of the so-called “double Irish” corporate tax regime which had allowed multinationals reduce their tax bills by shifting profits between global units.
While Ireland was widely accused of facilitating profit shifting abuse, the country appears to have been the big winner in closing the loophole that allowed it. As the Double Irish was phased out for multinationals from 2015 to 2020, the amount of tax collected here has jumped, helping to fund dramatically higher government spending, including during Covid-19 shutdowns.
Tax authorities here never release information on tax paid by sole proprietorships, but said the share of tax paid by the 10 largest multinationals now accounts for more than half of corporate tax collection. Apple was already considered the biggest single payer.
Cork-based Apple Operations International is the primary entity controlling the tech giant’s non-US operations and revenue. The accounts show pre-tax profits doubled in 2021 to $67.74 billion.
Apple’s structure and tax affairs here have been questioned. The European Commission ruled in 2016 that the Irish government had in fact provided state aid to the US multinational through favorable tax treatment and fined it €13 billion plus interest. The Irish government and Apple rejected the claim and successfully appealed to European courts, but the Commission is appealing the decision.
Apple’s Irish filing says there is now €12.7 billion in the Irish government-controlled escrow set up to meet the EU tax bill if all appeals fail. Apple gets the money back if they win, the Irish government will keep it if the EU tax bill stands.