09/17/2020

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Big Tech in Hot Water Both At Home and Abroad



Apple’s EU Tax Battle Continues

In both Europe and the US, large tech companies are butting heads with lawmakers. Apple’s (AAPL) legal disputes with the EU over a $15.2 billion tax bill may continue for months or even years. On Friday, EU lawmakers ruled to stand by a decision from 2016 saying that Ireland had given Apple illegal tax breaks between 2003 and 2014.

This appeal followed an unexpected ruling in July when EU judges sided with Apple saying there was not enough evidence that tax laws had been broken. Apple is now reviewing the court’s latest decision and emphasized that “facts have not changed” since the ruling in July.

The Threat of an EU Digital Tax

The decision from the appeal comes at an important time for global discussions about digital taxation. A number of European countries, including France, introduced national taxes on tech companies.

The European Union said it may impose a bloc-wide digital tax on companies like Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB). The US threatened tariffs on European goods if the bloc implements this type of tax.

US Lawmakers Vote on Subpoena

Stateside, tech companies are also facing scrutiny from lawmakers. Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee scheduled a vote to subpoena testimony from big tech company CEOs on October 1. These subpoenas would impact Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Google’s Sundar Pichai.

Democrats on the committee criticized the calls for subpoenas, saying they will hurt tech companies’ efforts to curb hate speech on their platforms. It’s a fraught time for relations between tech companies and governments around the world. Investors will be anxious to see how negotiations both at home and abroad unfold for big tech companies.


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