As one of the inevitable big three (along with rain and death), paying taxes isn’t exactly a choice. And now, Apple is learning that the hard way. After an investigation revealed that the tech giant failed to pay its taxes in Italy between 2008 and 2013, Apple has settled with prosecutors in Milan to the tune of $348 million. It may not be a crippling sum for the world’s most valuable company, but it sure is a stark reminder that you’re never too big to engage in tax evasion.
Apple has yet to comment on its sizable fine, though it had previously insisted that it never tried to avoid paying taxes in the U.S. or abroad. Tim Cook, in fact, went so far as to say, “We pay every tax dollar we owe.” But following an extensive investigation by Italian officials, it was determined that the iEmpire failed to make good on this promise in relation to the revenue the firm earned for the six-year period beginning in 2008.
According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Italy’s steep tax rate (27.5 percent) should have collected around $963 million from Apple during this time period. Instead, the firm that is Steve Jobs’ legacy paid just $33 million.
The iPhone maker is by no means the first American company to find itself in hot water regarding European tax laws. Both Google and Amazon have faced similar issues in the past, and European officials have promised to stay vigilant in keeping foreign companies honest about their revenues and associated taxes. While Apple’s European division is headquartered in Ireland (known for its significantly lower tax rates), the European Union is making it clear that different countries have very different financial requirements.
Three managers involved in the scandal are facing judicial action, but now that Apple has agreed to pay up, sources tell Reuters that this will “likely have a positive impact on the investigation.”