In a victory for corporate taxes everywhere, Apple has been ordered to pay as much as €13 billion ($14.7 billion) in back taxes to Ireland. Or, perhaps, in a loss for workers everywhere, a reluctant Ireland is forced to go back on its agreement with Apple to base its European operations there in exchange for much needed tax breaks. Or, perhaps, corporate tax harmonization has been dealt a terrible setback as the European Union (EU) has claimed their turf in what should be hammered out through an international agreement.
What we do know for sure is the massive penalty, the largest ever imposed, is a big blow to Apple, amounting to …. around 7% of their massive $200 billion cash reserves. Unless, of course, the Republic of Ireland can justify a smaller bill, which they are very much keen to do. So nevermind.
Like corporate taxes themselves, today’s big story is completely negotiable and dependent on your perspective. There will be more to this, but nothing even remotely obvious will happen in the immediate future.