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Apple has warned that future investment by multinationals in Europe could be hit after it was ordered to pay a record-breaking €13bn (£11bn) in back taxes to Ireland.

欧盟要求苹果公司向爱尔兰政府补缴破纪录的130亿欧元(110亿英镑)税款。苹果警告称跨国公司未来在欧洲的投资或遭受打击。

The world’s largest company was presented with the huge bill after the European commission ruled that a sweetheart tax deal between Apple and the Irish tax authorities amounted to illegal state aid.

欧盟委员会裁定苹果公司与爱尔兰税务当局达成的税收优惠协定属非法国家援助后,这家全球最大的公司面临天价税单。

The commission said the deal allowed Apple to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, the tech firm paid tax at just 0.005%. The usual rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5%.

欧盟委员会称,该优惠协定使苹果公司的最高税率仅有1%。2014年,这家科技公司的税率仅为0.005%。而爱尔兰企业所得税的通常税率是12.5%。

“Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” said the European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, whose investigation of Apple’s complex tax dealings has taken three years.

欧盟竞争事务专员玛格丽特•韦斯塔格表示:“成员国不得向个别公司提供税收优惠——优惠协定违反了欧盟的国家援助规定。”维斯塔格对苹果公司复杂税收交易的调查已进行了三年。

Vestager’s ruling prompted an angry response from Apple and from Ireland and is likely to spark a political row between the US and the EU. The US Treasury said the ruling threatened to damage “the important spirit of economic partnership between the US and the EU”.

维斯塔格的裁定激起苹果和爱尔兰的强烈不满,并可能引发美国与欧盟之间的政治争论。美国财政部称此裁定会危害“美国和欧盟之间重要的经济合作精神”。

In a letter to customers, Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, claimed the ruling could deal a blow to big companies investing in Europe: “Beyond the obvious targeting of Apple, the most profound and harmful effect of this ruling will be on investment and job creation in Europe. Using the commission’s theory, every company in Ireland and across Europe is suddenly at risk of being subjected to taxes under laws that never existed.”

苹果首席执行官蒂姆•库克在致客户的信中称,该裁定会对投资欧洲的大型企业造成打击:“这一裁定除明显针对苹果外,还将对欧洲的投资和就业产生深远的负面影响。按欧盟委员会的理论,爱尔兰和欧洲的任何一家公司突然都要根据从未存在的法律来缴纳税款了。”

The commission said Ireland’s tax arrangements with Apple between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to attribute sales to a “head office” that only existed on paper and could not have generated such profits.

欧盟委员会表示,爱尔兰与苹果1991至2015年间的税收协议容许了苹果将销售额归入一家“总部”名下,而这一“总部”实际并不存在,也不能产生巨额利润。

The result was that Apple avoided tax on almost all the profit generated from its multi-billion euro sales of iPhones and other products across the EU’s single market. It booked the profits in Ireland rather than the country in which the product was sold.

由此,苹果在欧盟单一市场销售亿万欧元的iPhone和其他产品,所得利润几乎都得以避税。公司将盈利计入爱尔兰的业务部门,而非产品的实际销售国。

Apple and Ireland said they intend to appeal against the ruling.

苹果公司和爱尔兰表示,他们将就这一裁决提出上诉。

The figure of €13bn plus interest is 40 times the previous record for such a case and the equivalent of the annual budget for Ireland’s health service. Irish campaigners called for the windfall to be invested in public housing.

130亿欧元再加上利息,补税额已达此前同类裁决中最高金额的40倍,与爱尔兰公共医疗卫生服务的年度预算相当。爱尔兰的活动家们号召将这笔“意外之财”用于公共住房项目。

The taxable profits of Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe did not correspond to economic reality, the commission said.

欧盟委员会称,苹果国际销售公司和苹果欧洲运营公司的应纳税利润与其实际盈利不符。

Vestager said: “The commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years.”

维斯塔格说:“委员会的调查发现,爱尔兰给予苹果公司的非法税收优惠,使苹果多年来比其他公司少缴纳了许多税金。”

Vestager suggested other countries, including the US, might now examine how Apple did business within their borders. These other jurisdictions might then claim a share of the unpaid tax from Apple for the same period. This would reduce the bill owed to Ireland.

维斯塔格表示,现在,包括美国在内的其他国家或可审查苹果在其境内的业务,或许也能追收苹果该时期内少缴的税款。那么苹果补缴给爱尔兰的金额则会减少。

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said the commission was rewriting Apple’s record in Ireland, overriding Irish law and disrupting the international tax system. He said Apple chose the Irish city of Cork as its European base 30 years ago and had expanded from 60 workers to almost 6,000 in Ireland.

苹果掌门人库克称,欧盟委员会正在改写苹果在爱尔兰的历史,它凌驾于爱尔兰法律之上并扰乱了国际税收制度。他说,苹果公司30年前选择了爱尔兰的科克作为其欧洲总部,在爱尔兰的员工数量也从60人发展至近6000人。

He said Apple would appeal and that he was confident of winning.

他表示苹果将会上诉且有信心获胜。

Cook said: “We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals. We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don’t owe them any more than we’ve already paid.”

库克说:“我们从未要求,也从未接受过任何特殊协议。现在却发现自己陷入异乎寻常的处境,被要求向政府补缴额外税款。而政府说,我们税金已缴,什么也不欠他们。”

The commission’s decision is a rebuff to US efforts to persuade it to drop the case after warnings of retaliation from Washington.

美国此前已发出报复警告,试图让欧盟不去追究苹果纳税一案,而欧盟委员会的这一裁定是对美国诉求的有力回绝。

Apple, which changed its tax arrangements with Ireland in 2015, should easily be able to pay the huge tax bill because it has a cash mountain of more than $230bn (£176bn) of cash and securities, mostly held outside the US. The tech group keeps the money outside the US because it would be forced to pay US tax charges if it repatriated the money.

苹果于2015年修改了与爱尔兰的税收协定。鉴于其坐拥超过2300亿美元(1760亿英镑)的现金和证券,苹果支付天价税款轻而易举。这家科技公司将资金储放在美国之外。因为资金一旦流回国内,就不得不承担美国的赋税。

The €13bn figure covers only the 10 years before the commission first requested information in 2013. The commission, which does not have the authority to go back any further, said it was up to Ireland to collect the tax from Apple.

欧盟委员会2013年开始对苹果进行调查,这130亿欧元只涵盖了此前10年的未缴税款。无权再向前追溯的委员会表示,向苹果收税一事取决于爱尔兰政府。

The Irish government, however, wants the ruling reversed because it wants to preserve its status as a low-tax base for overseas companies.

然而爱尔兰政府也希望推翻裁决,保住自己低税港湾的地位以吸引海外公司。

图文来源:中国日报英语点津

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