Apple Store SeoulSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple has faced a backlash over its presence in Ireland.
  • The company has been accused of using Ireland to avoid European taxes.
  • It will now reportedly be more transparent in its Irish dealings.

The situation with Apple's presence in Ireland and the part that pays in its European tax position has long been a bone of contention. It recently saw the company smacked with a $14 billion tax back payment, but now Apple will reportedly be more transparent about its Irish accounting.

That's according to a new report by The Irish Times, with Apple still awaiting the result of the appeal into its $14 billion tax bill.

In its current state, Apple doesn't need to share some of its accounting because of a giant tax loophole that the company has been leveraging for years.

The curtains had remained drawn on Apple's Irish tax gymnastics because most of its companies here hid behind unlimited status. This meant they did not have to file publicly-available accounts in Ireland, avoiding any scrutiny of the fact that some were paying an effective tax rate of less than 1 per cent.

However, things now seem to be changing with some of Apple's companies re-registering as limited companies, effectively opening them up to the same scrutiny as any other business.

Last month, it appears things at Apple's Cork hub began to change. On January 23rd, Apple's six main Irish entities all began re-registering with the Companies Registration Office as limited companies, relinquishing unlimited status. Company filings this week suggest the move is underway at Apple Operations Europe, Apple Sales Ireland, Apple Sales International, Apple Distribution International, Apple Operations, and Apple Data Services Ireland.

Those companies will now have to file real, accurate, annual accounts which will presumably make it impossible for them to avoid paying taxes at the correct rate.

This all comes against a backdrop of Apple CEO Tim Cook calling for international tax laws to "be rehauled" last month.