Apple agrees to pay back-taxes to French authorities

FILE PHOTO - A surveillance camera is seen outside an Apple store in Beijing, China December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

PARIS (Reuters) - Apple’s French division said it had reached a deal with France to pay an undeclared amount of back-dated tax, which French media estimated at around 500 million euros ($571 million).

Apple’s French division confirmed the tax payment agreement, but did not disclose how much it had agreed to pay.

“As a multinational company, Apple is regularly audited by fiscal authorities around the world,” Apple France said in a statement.

“The French tax administration recently concluded a multi-year audit on the company’s French accounts, and those details will be published in our public accounts,” it said.

French business magazine L’Express/L’Expansion, which reported the tax payment figure, said the deal was reached in December after several months of negotiations between tax authorities and the company.

France is pushing for a European Union-wide tax on the world’s top digital and software companies such as Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, Amazon , Facebook and Apple that use complex intra-group arrangements to pay low single-digit tax rates on profits derived from European customers. The arrangements are not illegal.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in January that he was confident European Union member states would reach an agreement by the end of March on an EU-wide tax on global digital companies.

Online retail group Amazon settled a long-running dispute with French tax authorities in February last year. France had been seeking nearly 200 million euros ($228.20 million) from the company.

Reporting by Simon Carraud; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Bate Felix; Editing by Luke Baker and Jane Merriman