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TECHNOLOGY

Apple agrees to pay France €500 million in back taxes

Apple has reached an agreement with French authorities over 10 years of back taxes, the US firm told AFP on Tuesday, confirming information published by the French magazine L'Express.

Apple agrees to pay France €500 million in back taxes
The sign reads 'Apple pay your taxes'. Photo: AFP
The magazine reported that the firm paid nearly 500 million euros ($570 million) to resolve the case in a confidential settlement reached in December. 
   
“The French tax administration recently concluded a multi-year audit on the company's French accounts and an adjustment will be published in our public accounts,” Apple told AFP. 
   
The company declined to disclose the amount paid, but a source familiar with the case confirmed to AFP the sum of nearly 500 million euros reported by L'Express.
   
“We know the important role taxes play in society and we pay our taxes in all the countries where we operate, in complete conformity with laws and practices in force at the local level,” added the company.
   
French authorities declined to comment citing the confidentiality of tax matters.
   
According to L'Express, the deal followed several months of talks between Apple and French tax authorities, and concerned the small amount of revenue the firm booked in France while the sales it reported in Europe ballooned, thanks in particular to iPhone sales.
 
L'Express said Apple's European revenues exploded seven-fold, from 6.6 billion euros in 2008 to 47.7 billion in 2017, and most of it was booked in Ireland where the US firm has its European headquarters.
   
Ireland has low corporate tax rates that have attracted many multinationals, but there are wide concerns that firms manipulate accounting rules to escape paying revenues in European countries where taxes are higher.
   
The French deal with Apple follows one with Amazon, which agreed to pay $252 million (202 million euros) to cover back taxes for the years 2006 to 2010.
 
The French government is also pushing to impose a tax on digital firms, and is expected to unveil legislation later this month that would raise 500 million euros this year.

 

 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier

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