Streaming services covering users in Chicago required to pay extra tax
Users of Netflix, Hulu Plus, and other streaming services in Chicago can expect to pay a higher subscription rate in the future, after the city changed laws. The "cloud tax" is effectively an extension of existing laws to add a nine-percent tax on streaming services and some other online platforms, which in at least one case will see the end price of services paid for by consumers in the city go up in order to compensate for the extra cost of business.
UK sales to be reported via local Amazon subsidiary following government tax crackdown
Amazon is altering its tax affairs in Europe, following pressure from governments and regulatory bodies over the way it and other tech companies attempt to shrink their tax bills. The retailer is starting to run sales it makes in the United Kingdom within the country itself, instead of funneling them through Luxembourg to minimize the amount of tax it pays, a change that is expected to bring in millions in corporation tax to the UK treasury.
Multinational tax haven ruling will wait to prevent sacrificing the rule of law
Europe's anti-trust agency, the European Commission (EC) will miss its own internal deadline for a ruling on the tax probe it has underway against Apple, Starbucks, and Amazon. Citing the need for justice and accuracy in its ruling, EC chief Margrethe Vestager said that "we will not sacrifice the rule of law or the quality of our work to speed up the process."
Commission may demand back taxes avoided due to Irish corporate tax laws
Apple has filed its latest quarterly report with the US government, and in so doing noted that an ongoing European Commission investigation of Ireland and its government's corporate tax rate could "require Ireland to recover from the company past taxes covering a period of up to 10 years reflective of the disallowed state aid," calling that potential amount "material." While difficult to gauge, the eventual impact could be in the billions for Apple.
Language of Oregon tax bill altered to benefit Google
Oregon has amended recently-altered state tax laws designed to help Internet services, correcting mistakes in the legislature. A second bill has been signed, correcting "wording issues" in an earlier bill that would have excluded Google Fiber from the very tax exemptions lawmakers were trying to put in place, removing the disincentives to setting up a gigabit Internet service in Portland.
Upcoming UK Budget to include tax proposal to fight offshore fund diversion
The United Kingdom government is still planning to charge large technology companies a hefty tax bill if they divert funds abroad in tax-avoidance schemes, a report claims. George Osborne, current Chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to announce the 25-percent "Google Tax" as part of the UK Budget announcements, due to take place later this month, with companies involved also being subject to more stringent monitoring of their finances.
Invest in Transportation Act seeks to raise money for US Highway fund
Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer from California and Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky have jointly announced a proposed bi-partisan bill titled the "Invest in Transportation Act of 2015" in Washington today. The bill would provide funds for the US Highway Trust Fund by encouraging the "repatriation" of funds held by US businesses overseas.
European Commission investigation finds issues with Amazon tax affairs
The European Commission believes Amazon's tax arrangement with Luxembourg can be classed as "state aid." A document published today suggests that Amazon benefited from an agreement with Luxembourg over taxes payable in Europe, one which allowed the retailer to pay proportionately less than other companies had to over the last decade.
Wall Street expecting Amazon to rein in ambitions, turn a profit
Amazon.com today announced financial results for its third quarter that ended on September¬†30. Net sales increased 20 percent to $20.58 billion in the third quarter, compared with $17.09 billion in the third quarter of 2013. Despite the increase, Amazon's net loss was $437 million in the third quarter, or $0.95 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $41 million, or $0.09 per diluted share in the same time period of of 2013.
European Commission investigation Amazon Luxembourg operations
Similar to various tech corporations' arrangement in Ireland, Amazon has a special -- and legal -- tax arrangement with Luxembourg. Amazon's tax rate in the country, like Apple's, is now under fire by the European Commission for corporate tax avoidance. The European Commission is claiming that despite its legality, a favorable tax rate deal with Amazon's own patent holding company in Luxembourg violates European Union rules on state aid for corporations.
Two tax agreements between Apple, Irish government said to be illegal aid
[Updated to reflect new statement European Commission, Forbes clarification] A report from the European Union on tax deals between tech companies, including Apple, and Ireland could be coming as soon as tomorrow. The European Commission will allegedly be offering a document explaining its formal investigation -- first launched in June -- that could suggest Apple and other may have benefited from illegal state aid from the Irish government.
Bitcoin miners required to declare earned virtual currency
The Internal Revenue Service has declared that Bitcoin should be classed as property for tax purposes, and not as a currency. The ruling, which clarifies the tax-related standings for its supporters, can be applied to virtual currencies, with the US government agency also stating that owners may need to pay more tax or deduct a loss depending on what happens to the value of the currency as it is owned.
Price of digital content could rise, fall in UK from 2015
A change in the way taxes are applied to purchases in the United Kingdom could cause some digital items to rise in price, according to a report. The country's recent budget announcement by chancellor George Osborne included a statement that would force online sales to use the UK's rate of sales tax (Value Added Tax, or VAT) instead of a far lower rate used elsewhere in Europe.
Increase in cost demonstrates growing popularity of iPad in France
A number of countries -- such as Canada, Germany and France -- impose a special surtax on digital devices that can display or transfer copyrighted material, with the funds collected distributed to artists and copyright holders to partially compensate them for income losses due to piracy. Last year, Apple was ordered to pay some five million Euros ($6.9M US) to Copie France after losing a legal dispute over the issue. This year, the company has been ordered to pay Ä12M ($16.5M) for iPad sales over most of 2012.
Large tech companies hide funds in Cayman Islands, Switzerland
Large tech firms are coming under scrutiny over their tax avoidance measures, following the testimony of Apple executives to a US Senate Permanent Subcommittee. Google, Yahoo, Cisco, and other multinational corporations have been found to be using an assortment of tax loopholes and off-shoring in order to avoid paying governments in the US and Europe at least $100 billion.
May heighten tensions over tax avoidance in EU countries
French President Francoise Hollande is considering a new tax on tech products, the money from which would fund cultural projects. The move, which would be decided this summer and has been described as "minimal and widely distributed," may increase tensions between tech companies and the government of France -- along with other EU countries, many of which have complained that firms such as Apple and Google are gaming the system in order to avoid paying taxes that would normally be due.
Bill requires businesses with $1 million annual sales to collect sales tax
The US Senate voted to move the online sales tax bill forward. The bill, known as the "Marketplace Fairness Act," will mandate collection of sales tax for purchases even across state lines by companies having annual online sales of more than $1 million per year. The bill was passed by a 74-20 margin, greatly exceeding the 60 votes is needed for cloture.
Represents an evolving position on sales tax collection
The biggest retailer on the Internet, Amazon, is throwing some of its weight behind a new Senate bill that would allow states to collect sales tax for online sales -- provided they simplify tax laws regarding variations in rates and collection methods. While not explicitly saying it endorses the bill in its current form, the Kindle maker thanked the authors of the bill for bringing the issue forward -- another sign that Amazon's formerly hard-line stance against online sales tax is softening.
Team of 20 officials raid factory, operations continue unhindered
A factory in India that makes Nokia phones has been raided by tax authorities, according to reports. The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer's factory in Chennai was raided by 20 officials, with authorities claiming that taxes amounting to 3000 Crore INR ($542 million) have not been paid by the company to the Indian government.
Continued requests to keep details confidential ignored by government
More details about Amazon's UK tax affairs have been released to the public by the British government, despite requests for secrecy. The ongoing Parliament's Public Accounts Select Committee released details supplied by the retailer relating to taxes, with the provided evidence showing that a total of £1.8 million ($2.9 million) in corporation tax was paid in 2011.
Supplied sales information requested to remain confidential
Amazon has released details on its Black Friday and Cyber Monday Kindle sales, calling the two days the "best ever for the Kindle family." The figures are released at the same time as confidential sales figures for the company's UK operations were published by a parliamentary committee investigating its British tax affairs.
Tax is 'compensation for private copying'
German publication Heise is reporting that the ZP‹, the German organization responsible for administering a tax on blank media, has announced a sizable increase in the blank media levy. According to the ZP‹'s announcement, the fee on flash drives and similar storage devices up to 4GB will rise from about 10 cents to $1.93. For devices larger than 4GB, the fee will jump from 10 cents to $2.42. For the smaller devices, the new tax rate amounts to a 1,850 percent increase, while the rate jumps 2,338 percent for larger storage media.
Apple taxes correctly in EU says Luxembourg official
A Luxembourg official has spoken out against a recent investigation into Apple's tax avoidance strategies. In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, an executive director at the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office defended Apple and the country, saying they are applying EU tax law correctly.
Amazon sues New York State
Amazon has filed for legal action against the State of New York because of a bill that recently passed, requiring online resellers to collect sales tax to New York residents. The New York Times writes that the online commerce giant is suing not out of desire to see taxes abolished from goods bought over the internet, rather that it does not wish to be held liable for collecting taxes, the company feels is the job of state officials.