Apple has been caught illegally dodging billions in tax. The European Commission has ruled today that Apple should pay €13 billion in unpaid taxes to Ireland under illegal state aid rules. .
This is great news, but we know there are many more cases of corporations dodging tax that go unnoticed or where investigations don’t lead to sanctioning . Now that all eyes are on Apple, we have momentous opportunity to call on them to persevere and side with the European people by demanding real transparency.
After years of pressure from people like us, in these very months the European Union is looking into forcing corporations to be transparent about how much tax they pay. That way everyone can see if they have tried to hide profits and how much they actually owe. Corporations are putting all their lobbying power against thisproposal. We have to be stronger than them.
If the law the EU is preparing ends up with the lack of transparency corporations want, we wouldn’t get information to monitor whether they do aggressive tax planning and profit shifting, and we’d get it from fewer than 15% of them [3, 4]. It would mean that corporations can simply shift their profits to tax havens and continue to dodge tax.
The Commission has done a good job of investigating and sanctioning Apple, but investigations take a long time, and only scratch the surface of the problem. It is still addressing the symptoms but failing to treat the disease.
Over 80,000 Europeans who are part of our WeMove community already joined the tax justice movement. There are many more corporations avoiding taxes, and if we are to to stop it, we need the Commission and the Council to act.
Thank you for standing up for tax justice,
Virginia (Madrid), Julia (Warsaw) and the WeMove Europe Team
PS. Real transparency means that all companies in the EU are obliged to report publicly, no matter where their headquarters are; that they report on their activities in all countries, not just EU countries; and that 85% of companies are not exempted from reporting.