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Activists occupy Paris Apple store over EU tax dispute

About a hundred activists occupied an Apple store in the French capital Saturday, demanding that the US technology giant pay billions of euros the EU says it owes in back taxes.

Activists occupy Paris Apple store over EU tax dispute
Activists stage a protest against alleged tax evasion by US multinational technology company Apple at an Apple store in Paris on Saturday. PHOTO: CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP
The members from Attac, a group that seeks alternatives to unbridled globalisation, invaded the expansive two-level store near the Paris Opera for several hours — leaving only after they were assured of a meeting with management.
 
“One hundred Attac activists occupied the Apple store” to demand the company “pay its fair share of taxes in the country in which it really operates,” spokeswoman Aurelie Trouve said.
 
Members standing on the second-level balcony held a banner reading “We will stop when Apple pays”, while others held signs that read “Pay your taxes”.
 
“We received a formal commitment from an Apple manager that we would be granted a meeting with national leadership within 15 days,” Trouve told AFP. “If this meeting does not take place, we will come back before Christmas.”
 
The group held about 30 demonstrations across France on Saturday, including at an Apple store in the southern city of Marseille. Apple France was not immediately available for comment.
 
In August 2016, European authorities estimated that the company behind the iPhone owed $14.5 billion in back taxes after it negotiated highly favourable tax arrangements with the Irish government.
 
Revelations last month from the “Paradise Papers” shed light on Apple's tax avoidance strategy, which shifted tens of billion of dollars in profits from one fiscal haven to another.
 
The report — from a trove of documents released by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) — said Apple transferred funds to the small island of Jersey, which typically does not tax corporate income and is largely exempt from European Union tax regulations. 
 
Apple has said it follows the law in each country it operates.
 
Attac also protested against the company last month on the day Apple released its iPhone X globally, dumping a load of freshly picked apples as demonstrators carried signs saying “Apple, pay your taxes” in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence. 
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MONEY

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France’s finance stamps

If you're doing a French admin task, you might be asked to provide a 'timbre fiscale' - here's what these are and how to get them.

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France's finance stamps

In France, you can buy  a very particular kind of stamp to cover the cost of a titre de séjour, or French passport, to pay your taxes, get an ID card if you’re eligible, or pay for your driving licence.

Basically a timbre fiscale is a way of paying a fee to the government, and some online processes – such as the tax offices – now have the more modern method of a bank transfer or card payment.

However there are plenty of official tasks that still demand a timbre fiscale.

In the pre-internet days, this was a way of sending money safely and securely to the government and involved an actual physical stamp – you bought stamps to the value of the money you owned, stuck them onto a card and posted them to government office.

They could be used for anything from paying your taxes to fees for administrative processes like getting a new passport or residency card.

These days the stamps are digital. You will receive, instead, either a pdf document with a QR code that can be scanned from a phone or tablet, or an SMS with a unique 16-digit figure. Both will be accepted by the agency you are dealing with.

Once you have the code you need, you can add this to any online process that requires timbre fiscaux (the plural) and that will complete your dossier.

You can buy them from a properly equipped tabac, at your nearest trésorerie, or online

Paper stamps remain available in France’s overseas départements, but have been gradually phased out in mainland France.

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