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Apple owes France $6.5 million in unpaid taxes

The company neglected to pay 5 million euros on royalty taxes related to iPads sold in France in 2011, says a French organization for authors, composers, and music publishers.

James Martin/CNET

Apple appears to be delinquent on a hefty tax payment in France.

SACEM, a French society that controls royalties paid to authors, composers, and publishers, said on Friday that Apple owes 5 million euros ($6.5 million) in royalty taxes from iPads sold in France in 2011. The tax, known in France as a copie privee, is levied against all vendors of digital devices that use copyrighted content, according to French blog site The Rude Baguette.

That tax then goes to SACEM, which divvies out the money among the various authors, producers, and other creative folks.

Apple passed on the extra tax to iPad buyers, SACEM said, but failed to pay out the tax itself. As a result, the Grand Instance Court of Paris has issued a judgment against the company asking it to pay up.

This marks the second time in recent weeks that Apple has been on the hot seat over taxes. CEO Tim Cook faced a grilling in Washington, D.C., on May 21 over allegations that Apple exploited tax loopholes to avoid paying its fair share to the government.