EU Stories January 9, 2015

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A week ago, Apple introduced 14-day no-questions-asked refunds in the EU for iTunes Store and App Store content. This means that, without the need for a reason, any Apple customer in Europe can get their money back for (primarily) app purchases in 5-7 days time. That’s how it is described, at least.

This opens up some possibilities for abuse. For instance, if you complete a game within two weeks, then you can get your money back and end up paying nothing. As a developer, I tested this out myself. It turns out there is an even bigger problem. At least, right now, when the refund is processed, the app continues to work. You get the app for free, forever.

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EU Stories December 29, 2014

EU Stories June 25, 2014

Before the Apple and Beats marriage can really be official, the two companies must first gain regulatory approval from various governing bodies where the companies conduct business. Apple included the following expectation in its official press release announcing the deal: Subject to regulatory approvals, Apple expects the transaction to close in fiscal Q4.

For Apple, having regulatory approval and closing the transaction by the end of fiscal Q4 means it expects everything to be in order by the end of September. According to a Reuters report, regulators in the European Union will announce their decision on the deal by July 30th next month. expand full story

EU Stories June 11, 2014

Apple responds to EU investigation into tax practices: “Apple pays every euro of every tax that we owe”

Following a report yesterday that the European Commission was about to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in Ireland, the EU has now officially announced the investigation at a press conference. Bloomberg reports that the investigation will include not just Apple, but also Starbucks and Fiat Finance & Trade SA and will look at “whether the tax deals in Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are illegal state aid.” 

“Special secret deals should be outlawed across the EU,” Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said in an e-mailed statement. “All tax breaks and reliefs should be openly available for qualifying businesses.”

“We need to fight against aggressive tax planning,” Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, said at a press conference in Brussels. He said it’s “still too soon to anticipate” possible recovery if the EU finds the tax rulings to be illegal.

Apple responded with a statement to Bloomberg following the news claiming that it “pays every euro of every tax that we owe” and that it “received no selective treatment from Irish officials.” Apple’s full statement is below:

“Apple pays every euro of every tax that we owe,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “We have received no selective treatment from Irish officials. Apple is subject to the same tax laws as scores of other international companies doing business in Ireland.”

Apple last year faced a U.S. Senate hearing on its offshore tax practices in which it denied taking advantage of any tax loopholes in Ireland. The SEC also closed its own investigation without establishing any wrong-doing in October of last year.

EU Stories June 10, 2014

EU launching formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in Ireland

According to a report from Ireland’s RTE.ie, the European Commission has decided to officially launch a formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in the country (via The Loop). An announcement is expected by EU officials tomorrow:

The European Commission is to open a formal investigation into Apple’s tax arrangements with Ireland… An announcement is expected to be made by Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia tomorrow… EU state aid rules are designed to prevent unfair practices, although it is not clear that countries offering favourable tax terms to companies or industries would violate such rules.

Apple last year faced U.S. Senate hearing on its offshore tax practices in which it denied taking advantage of any tax gimmicks or loopholes in Ireland. The EU shortly after launched an investigation into tax agreements with multinational companies in Ireland and number of other EU countries, while government officials in Ireland denied claims of a special 2% tax deal with Apple.

Later, in October of last year, the SEC in the U.S. ultimately closed its own investigation without establishing any wrong-doing on Apple’s part.

EU Stories November 28, 2013

While Apple’s Black Friday deals started going live in Australia and elsewhere today with Apple Store Gift Cards in place of traditional discounts, it appears Apple will be offering discounts and not gift cards in at least some countries. The UK, France, Germany and other European Apple Online Stores have now started posting Black Friday promotions with discounts on iPads, MacBooks, iPods, Apple TV, and many accessories. expand full story

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