Blog Post

Australia wants $29M in back taxes from Apple

Apple’s (s aapl) well-documented accounting acrobatics have saved it from larger tax bills in its home country and abroad, but apparently not in Australia. On Friday the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australian government billed Apple Australia for a whopping $28.5 million in taxes it hadn’t paid for fiscal year 2011.

Apple’s Australia division made nearly $5 billion in revenues for that year. But $28.5 million amounts to about .003 percent of the $8.2 billion in profits the company earned in the last quarter alone — pocket change for Apple.

The tax bill is notable because of how profitable Apple is and how at the same time it has managed to out-maneuver many tax laws in the U.S. and Europe by building a complex web of subsidiaries in lower-tax countries like Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the British Virgin Islands.

The New York Times explained these schemes in an in-depth piece earlier this year. Many companies do stuff like this, but Apple is a prime example of how these schemes can benefit companies based in the U.S. who do more than half of their business outside the country.

Some of Apple’s peers have also been in the headlines recently for their own alleged tax avoidance. This week both Amazon(s AMZN) and Google(s GOOG) were made to answer for their own tax bills before a government accounting committee in the U.K.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr user artist in doing nothing

3 Responses to “Australia wants $29M in back taxes from Apple”

  1. She'll be apples

    $5,000,000,000 earnings but only a $28,500,000 tax bill? That is a tiny, negligible percentage. I thought Australia had a higher business tax than that, something like 30-40%