Australia hits Apple with $28.5 million bill for back taxes

Apple is getting slapped with the bill after the country has taken aim at complex tax structures meant to shelter revenue from tax liability.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Apple has been told to pay an additional $28.5 million in back taxes to the Australian government, a report out of the country says.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting today that the Australia Tax Office actually hit Apple with the charge in April. According to the news outlet, Apple's Australian division generated $4.9 billion in revenue last year but paid only $94.7 million in taxes.

Apple's tax strategy has come under intense scrutiny over the last year as news of the company's shockingly low tax liability has been made public. During its last fiscal year, Apple paid $713 million in taxes on $36.87 billion in foreign profits -- less than 2 percent of its international profit. Not surprisingly, foreign governments are displeased by that and have been trying to find ways to increase the amount of tax Apple pays.

However, Apple is by no means unique. Just about every major company has established complex structures that allow it to transfer profits across the world and shelter tax liability.

Just last week, the French government announced that Amazon owes it $252 million in back taxes, including interest and penalties.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.

(Via The Mac Observer)