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Apple ruling shows the painfully high price of multinational tax secrecy

30 August 2016 - Today’s European Commission ruling on Apple highlights the urgent need for the tax arrangements of both multinationals and governments to be brought into the open, Christian Aid says today. 
“The staggering amount of money at stake here suggests that millions of citizens are paying a painfully high price for multinationals’ cosy tax deals with certain governments,” warned Toby Quantrill, Christian Aid’s Principal Adviser on Economic Justice.
“This is not a one-off situation - it is part of a damaging race to the bottom in which governments are competing on who can offer multinationals the lowest tax bill. This is a recipe for disaster for all the tax-funded public services around the world on which lives depend.
“It’s time to get multinationals’ tax affairs out in the open, so we can all see how much they are actually contributing to the rest of society,” added Mr Quantrill.
“Multinationals like Apple must be required to publish their country-by-country tax reports, which they are already making to governments. Clearly, we cannot trust companies or governments to do the right thing without public scrutiny.”
Christian Aid has consistently raised concerns about the gaps in Ireland’s corporate taxation and incentives system, along with its transfer-pricing regime, which helps multinationals to operate aggressive tax dodging schemes that reduce their global liabilities and deny much-needed tax revenues to low-income countries.
Matti Kohonen, Christian Aid’s Principal Adviser on Private Sector, added: “Some companies already voluntarily publish aspects of their country-by-country reports and are open about their corporate tax strategy with all relevant stakeholders.
“Meanwhile, Apple seems to be holding out revenues from tax authorities, and its tax strategy seems to be mostly about tax lobbing. Apple should move towards a more tax-responsible approach.”
If Apple ultimately loses its fight with the European Commission, then any repayments will be to the Irish state. However, Christian Aid questions whether such an arrangement represents any kind of disincentive to a state not to engage in such secret tax rulings.
Consideration should instead be given to the proposals from the European Parliament that the money be repaid either to the EU general budget, or to those countries whose tax base has been eroded by Ireland tax ruling with Apple. 
For more information contact Rachel Baird on rbaird@christian-aid.org or 07850 242950.

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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