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If Apple takes Advantage of the 10% Tax Rate under Trump to bring Home their $230 Billion in Cash, Ireland will take a Hit

1af 88 cover Apple, Ireland

Late yesterday a report out of Ireland states that Apple approached the Central Statistics Office (CSO) expressing concerns that information it provided the statistics agency should remain confidential in compiling GDP figures.


The communication was made during the summer, when the CSO reported revised numbers that showed the economy had surged 26.3% in 2015. The numbers gave rise to the infamous jibe of "leprechaun economics" by economist Paul Krugman.


The surge was due to the transfers of intellectual property from overseas onto the balance sheets in Ireland by one or more unidentified multinationals which were rearranging their global tax arrangements. The numbers were compiled under Eurostat rules, but the activities of multinationals make it difficult to get a clear picture of what is happening to the underlying economy here.


Citing confidentiality clauses, the CSO refused to identify the multinationals involved, but many say Apple was the main driver. By communicating with the CSO, it appears Apple thought it would be identified as the main driver behind the transfers.


Analysts said GDP figures for the third quarter, released yesterday, overstate the strength of the economy, and that concerns persist about Brexit.


The "data are consistent with other indicators that suggest the Irish economy is posting solid growth. However, the recorded 4% quarter-on-quarter increase in GDP, which would translate to an annualized jump of 17%, dramatically overstates the current momentum of the Irish economy as experienced by most households and businesses," said Austin Hughes, chief economist at KBC Bank Ireland.


"It seems fairly clear that it was Apple," said Mr Hughes, referring to the identity of the multinational which drove the transfers of intellectual property.


With President-elect Trump offering U.S. companies a one-time tax holiday of 10% for bringing home profits sitting in overseas accounts, it's clear that Apple will most definitely take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity.


Forbes covered this in a report this summer titled "Apple CEO Says Company Won't Bring Home Money Parked Overseas Until Tax Rates Are 'Fair'"


The report revealed that $230 billion cash sitting offshore. Parked funds aren't generally subject to tax - yet. But when or if the money comes back home, it will be taxed. With those kind of dollars, Apple expects, per Cook, to pay tax at a 40% tax rate (including state tax rates): that works out to a cool $92 billion. Under Trump, it would closer to $23 billion – a savings of $69 billion. Who wouldn't jump at that?


The problem for Ireland is that their surging 26.3% economic growth in 2015 was primarily due to "transfers of intellectual property from overseas onto the balance sheets in Ireland by one or more unidentified multinationals" for which they know is primarily Apple.


On the surface it would appear that the CSO is now trying to warn people that their positive surge in the economy isn't for real and that it could change very quickly under certain circumstances relating to the "unidentified" multinational(s) taking their profits home.


With the EU Commission penalizing Apple with the largest corporate tax bill on record, now would be the time to bring their profits home. Yet with Ireland appealing the EU's decision, you have to wonder how Apple will play their cards on this one.   


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