Apple Australia who has been legally ripping off Australians for years by not paying taxes on the billions in revenue they generated selling their products at significantly higher prices than most other brands has overnight lost another fight with arch rival Samsung.
A U.S. judge last night rejected Apple’s request for a permanent sales ban in the United States against Samsung smartphones, a key setback for the iPhone maker in its global patent battle which is still continuing in the Australian Federal Court.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in California, ruled that Apple Inc had not presented enough evidence to show that its patented features were a significant enough driver of consumer demand to warrant an injunction.
Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd have been litigating for nearly three years over various smartphone features patented by Apple, such as the use of fingers to pinch and zoom on the screen, as well as design elements such as the phone’s flat, black glass screen.
Apple was awarded more than $900 million by U.S. juries but the iPhone maker has failed to sustain a permanent sales ban against its rival, a far more serious threat to Samsung, which earned $7.7 billion last quarter.
Earlier this week the Australian Financial Review revealed that Apple had funneled about $8.9 billion of revenue to an Irish tax haven over the past 10 years in a bid to avoid paying tax to the Australian Tax Office.
Last year, Apple reported pre-tax earnings in Australia of only $88.5 million after sending about $2 billion from its local sales to Ireland via Singapore, where Apple had negotiated a secret tax deal in 2009, the Fin says.
It suggests that – while Australians have bought $27 billion worth of Apple products since 2002 – the company has paid only $193 million to the Australian Tax Office, or just 0.7 per cent of its turnover.
But its moves have apparently been quite legal: the paper stresses that all arrangements have been within the Australian law as it stands.
In the four years from 2010 to 2013, the figures show Apple’s Australian arm reported total sales of $20 billion and pre-tax profits of $387 million, according to the Fin.
How was that done? The Fin reckons Apple’s Australian arm paid an estimated $7.2 billion of its profits to Apple Sales International in Ireland for “intangibles” such as intellectual property – rendering them free of tax – over the same time frame. It claims to have obtained 10 years of financial accounts for Apple Sales International, which it describes as “the secretive Irish company at the heart of Apple’s international tax arrangements” and claims the accounts reveal the mark-up Apple charges for intellectual property on its products around the world.
But it says the Irish-domiciled company has never filed financial returns with the Companies Registrations Office in Dublin.
The report says the US parent, Apple Inc., has reported more than US$100 billion (A$112 billion) of profits in the last five years but has paid less than 50? in tax on every $1000 of income.
The latest figures have emerged because Section 601CK of Australia’s Corporations Law has required a registered foreign company doing business Down Under to file annual financial statements with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Apple Australia has declined to comment on the AFR report.
Tax arrangements by multinationals and so-called “transfer pricing” will be a major issue for discussion at this year’s G20 meeting in Brisbane, to be chaired by Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey in December.