Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is rapidly expanding its footprint in Europe undeterred by the ongoing investigations into its tax arrangements in the region by the European Commission. The company is in the process of expanding its production capacity at its Cork plant in Ireland.
Increased EU Scrutiny
The development comes as the European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager affirms that investigations into the company’s tax deals could be pushed further as a lack of required information continues to derail the process.
Apple is not the only company that has come under immense scrutiny from the regulatory agency. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) are also facing similar investigations related to their practices in the region, mostly related to how they handle the data of European citizens. The region has been a buzz of activity as the European Commission moves to crack the whip on multinationals making a mockery of local laws.
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Most companies opt to have their headquarters in Ireland where the tax regime is believed to be quite friendly with minimal scrutiny compared to other countries. But Ireland being part of the EU has brought up a number of legal issues on how the companies are supposed to respond to various tax structures governing the region.
Increased Investments in Ireland
Unconcerned by the ongoing scrutiny, Apple has been investing heavily on its Ireland plant considered to be an integral part of its footprint away from the company’s Cupertino, California HQ. It is becoming clear that the iPhone maker could double its factory space in the country, which could result in hundreds of jobs being created sure to be a big boost to the economy.
Investments in Ireland have been forthcoming seen as a gateway for Apple’s product in the region having already spent $947 million on a data center in Galway, in the west of the country. The data center is expected to act as a key storage center for consumers across the region using Appstore, iMessage, and iTunes among many more.
That makes the total investment in the country, in the last few months alone at more than $1 billion. A recent JPMorgan report on the Cupertino company said that if caught out on tax evasion in Europe it could be forced to pay the entirety of its back taxes, or $19 billion, back.
However, Apple continues to warn that increased scrutiny by the European Commission could have massive repercussions if handled in a precarious way. The remarks come on suggestions that some of the multinationals could be forced to pay back unfair state aid that was handed to them should they be found to have violated some of the region’s tax rules.