Report: Apple shifted assets to island to evade tax scrutiny

Report: Apple shifted assets to island to evade tax scrutiny
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Apple shifted two of its subsidiaries from Ireland to the island of Jersey in an apparent effort to shield assets from European tax regulators, according to leaked documents from a Bermuda law firm that were reported by The New York Times.

According to the Times, the move came as Apple was taking heat for the lack of taxes it was paying on its Irish subsidiaries.

The European Union ordered Ireland in 2016 to collect $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple, saying that the country granted it illegal tax breaks.

An Apple spokesman said the company hadn’t engaged in any wrongdoing.

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“The changes we made did not reduce our tax payments in any country,” Josh Rosenstock told the Times. “At Apple we follow the laws, and if the system changes we will comply. We strongly support efforts from the global community toward comprehensive international tax reform and a far simpler system.”

Apple enlisted the Bermuda-based law firm Appleby to help it restructure its offshore tax scheme. Leaked documents that have come to be known as the “Paradise Papers” shed light on how the law firm was used by major corporations and the wealthy to avoid paying taxes.

Appleby eventually settled on relocating two Apple subsidiaries to the law firm’s office in Jersey, a small island in the English Channel.

“For those of you who are not aware Apple are extremely sensitive concerning publicity,” Cameron Adderley, an Appleby executive, wrote to his partners in a leaked 2014 email. “They also expect the work that is being done for them only to be discussed amongst personnel who need to know.”