France and Germany Prepare Crackdown on Tax Loopholes With Tech Companies Like Apple in Sights

France and Germany are looking to stop tech companies like Apple from exploiting tax loopholes in their respective countries. The loopholes are said to have allowed Apple to "minimize taxes and grab market share" at the expense of Europe-based companies.

France will draft and propose a list of "simpler rules" that will be aimed at creating a "real taxation" law for non-European companies, which also include Amazon and Facebook (via Bloomberg).

The new rules will be looked at in September during a meeting of European Union officials, which French finance minister Bruno Le Maire hopes will help speed up Europe-wide initiatives related to properly taxing international companies. Germany is said to be looking into similar proposals following its national election on September 24.

French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the leaders behind the tax crackdown on international tech companies, with a goal of bringing a more unified corporate tax system across the nineteen euro area states.
The clampdown on tech firms is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s muscular approach to ensuring a level playing field, after seeing first hand during his election campaign how French firms struggle to compete with countries where taxes and social security payments are lower.

“Europe must learn to defend its economic interest much more firmly -- China does it, the U.S. does it,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said. “You cannot take the benefit of doing business in France or in Europe without paying the taxes that other companies -- French or European companies -- are paying.”
In similar news, last year the European Commission ruled that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland and ordered the company to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes. Apple admitted that it expects the case to continue for several years, and eventually appealed the decision in December of 2016 by arguing the European Commission made "fundamental errors" in its ruling.

If the new crackdown on tax loopholes goes into effect, Apple could potentially face more tax avoidance charges, which company CEO Tim Cook called "total political crap" in the wake of the Ireland-related ruling. In an open letter around the same time, Cook said that Apple has become "the largest taxpayer in the world," stating that the company "follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe." He called the European Commission's ruling an "effort to rewrite Apple's history in Europe," and said that any claim that Ireland gave Apple a "special deal" on taxes "has no basis in fact or in law."

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Tags: France, Germany, tax

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Apple Pay Expanding to AIB in Ireland, CaixaBank in Spain, and Other Banks in UK, France, and Italy

Apple Pay continues its global expansion today with several new participating banks, and more coming soon, in France, Italy, Ireland, Spain, and the UK.


In France, Apple says Apple Pay will be available later this year to Banque BCP and Arkéa Banque Privée customers, and through mobile-only banking and/or payment solutions Orange Bank, Lydia, and N26.

In Italy, as promised, Apple Pay is available now for American Express credit cards issued directly by American Express.

In Ireland, Apple Pay is available now at AIB, one of the so-called "Big Four" financial institutions in the country.


In Spain, Apple says Apple Pay will be available later this year at CaixaBank and mobile-only banking app imaginBank. Visa in general will also begin supporting Apple Pay in Spain by the end of the year.

In the UK, Apple Pay is now supported by mobile-only banking app Starling Bank.

Earlier this month, Apple announced several other new and forthcoming banks with Apple Pay support in France, Italy, and Spain. Apple maintains a complete list of Apple Pay participating banks in Europe on its website.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tags: Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, France, Ireland

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Apple Pay Expanding to Additional Banks in France, Italy, and Spain

Apple has updated its regional websites to indicate that Apple Pay is expanding to additional banks in France, Italy, and Spain.


In France, Apple Pay will be available later this year at Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne, Crédit Mutuel du Sud-Ouest, and Crédit Mutuel Massif Central, which are the three regional federations of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa. Apple Pay is also coming to Crédit Mutuel Arkéa's online banking subsidiary Fortuneo, and Max.

In Italy, Apple Pay is now available at Banca Mediolanum for Mediolanum Card debit cards, which are based on Mastercard's Maestro network.


In Spain, Apple Pay is now supported by Boon, a mobile wallet solution based on a prepaid account with a digital Mastercard. Boon users top-up their accounts with a debit or credit card, or via wire transfer. Boon also supports Apple Pay in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Ireland, and Italy.

In Spain, Apple Pay will also be available through mobile-only bank N26 later this year. The service has a partnership with Mastercard.

Apple maintains a list of Apple Pay participating banks in Europe, although it has yet to be updated to reflect today's additions.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tags: Italy, Spain, France, boon

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Apple Expands iTunes Carrier Billing to France and Turkey

Apple has enabled iTunes carrier billing in France and Turkey, according to an updated support document, expanding upon the feature's existing availability among select carriers in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Italy, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.


The payment method enables customers to pay for iTunes content, App Store apps, iBooks, and Apple Music subscriptions without needing a credit or debit card, or even a bank account. Instead, purchases are added to a customer's mobile phone bill and paid off at the end of the month.

Apple has a support document explaining how to set up carrier billing, also called mobile phone billing, on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and Mac or PC.


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Apple Maps Now Supports Transit in Paris

Apple Maps has been updated with transit data for Paris, enabling iPhone users in the city and the greater Île-de-France region to navigate with public transportation, such as the subway, commuter trains, and buses.


Apple Maps supports many public transportation services operated by the RATP Group, including the Métro subway system, RER commuter trains, and buses. Transilien trains and select other services are also supported in the suburbs.

Apple Maps is several years behind Google Maps in supporting transit routing in Paris, as in many other cities, but Apple's public transportation support is comprehensive, mapping all station entrances and listing departure times.


Apple Maps has had a Transit tab since iOS 9.

At launch, the feature was limited to Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and over 300 cities in China. Since then, Apple has been working to expand support for public transportation to other cities around the world.

Newer additions include Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Manchester, Melbourne, Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Montréal, New Orleans, Portland, Pittsburgh, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C.

Apple Maps transit support in Paris was expected, as station outlines in the city increased significantly in the weeks leading up to today's rollout. Likewise, transit directions may soon be enabled in Adelaide and Perth in Australia, Las Vegas, Madrid, Phoenix, Rome, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.

A smaller number of station outlines in Apple Maps are visible in the American and Canadian cities of Albuquerque, Buffalo, Calgary, Edmonton, Orlando, Ottawa, Nashville, Norfolk, St. Louis, and Tucson.

A complete list of cities that support Transit in Apple Maps is available on the iOS Feature Availability page of Apple's website.

(Thanks, Bernd!)


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Tim Cook Meets Fashion Designer and VizEat Co-Founders on France Tour This Week

Apple CEO Tim Cook is touring France this week and has shared some of his experiences along the trip on Twitter.


After making an unexpected visit at the new Apple Store in the port city of Marseille on Sunday, Cook met with Shot on iPhone photographer Jean Claude Luong. Cook then spent some time with Paris-based fashion designer and haute couture house owner Julien Fournié, whose latest collection was created with an iPad Pro.
Cook then had dinner with VizEat co-founders Camilla Rumani and Jean-Michel Petit. VizEat is a social dining service that allows travelers to "taste the city with locals" by booking an experience with a host, such as a cooking class, food tour, dinner, and more. VizEat was named one of the Best Apps of 2016 on the App Store.
Cook still has time for a few more excursions before heading to Scotland, where he is set to receive an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow on Wednesday. Cook was also named the recipient of the Newseum 2017 Free Expression Award in the Free Speech category last week. He will accept that award in April.


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Tim Cook Drops in Unexpectedly at Apple Store in Marseille, France

Apple CEO Tim Cook paid an unexpected visit to an Apple Store in the port of Marseille, France, earlier today, according to French tech blogs Mac4ever.com and iPhone.fr.

Both staff and shoppers got an unexpected surprise when Cook arrived unannounced at the commercial shopping mall of Terrasses du Port, where an Apple Store – the country's 20th – opened last May.

Photo: Philippe Gouy

Cook strolled around the store talking with Apple employees, chatting to customers, and having his picture taken, before receiving a farewell applause. It's not clear if Cook's trip to France is just a casual visit or something more business-focused, but we'll let you know if we learn more.


In July of last year, it was reported that Apple was planning to open a research laboratory in Grenoble, France that will focus on developing improved imaging sensors and techniques for its iOS devices. Apple was said to be hiring 30 engineers to work at the research lab, which will span 800 square meters.

Update: Tim Cook has tweeted (in French): "Delighted to be back in France to meet our talented team in Marseille."



Tag: France

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Tim Cook Drops in Unexpectedly at Apple Store in Marseille, France

Apple CEO Tim Cook paid an unexpected visit to an Apple Store in the port of Marseille, France, earlier today, according to French tech blogs Mac4ever.com and iPhone.fr.

Both staff and shoppers got an unexpected surprise when Cook arrived unannounced at the commercial shopping mall of Terrasses du Port, where an Apple Store – the country's 20th – opened last May.

Photo: Philippe Gouy

Cook strolled around the store talking with Apple employees, chatting to customers, and having his picture taken, before receiving a farewell applause. It's not clear if Cook's trip to France is just a casual visit or something more business-focused, but we'll let you know if we learn more.


In July of last year, it was reported that Apple was planning to open a research laboratory in Grenoble, France that will focus on developing improved imaging sensors and techniques for its iOS devices. Apple was said to be hiring 30 engineers to work at the research lab, which will span 800 square meters.

Update: Tim Cook has tweeted (in French): "Delighted to be back in France to meet our talented team in Marseille."



Update 2: Later on Sunday, Cook was also seen checking out the Apple Store at the Louvre in Paris.

Tag: France

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