German Finance Minister sceptical Apple tax will be spread around Europe

"You should never divvy up the bear skin before you've taken out the bear"...

German Finance Minister sceptical Apple tax will be spread around Europe

Image: Photocall Ireland

Germany's Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble has said that while he would "naturally" welcome an Apple tax windfall in Europe, he believes it's extremely premature for countries to be expecting extra cash from the tech giant.

Schäuble said that he thinks "the expectations being built up there are somewhat previous" – or to put it in more flowery language "you should never divvy up the bear skin before you've taken out the bear."

The finance minister was very much in favour of the Apple "bear" being taken out. A critic of Ireland's corporate tax model, he welcomed the European Commission's finding that Apple owed €13 billion in back taxes.

However, he believes that Europe now faces an "unusually complicated process that will drag on".

His Austrian counterpart Hans Jörg Schelling has similarly admitted there is only a "very small chance" that his country would see some of the cash.

Schäuble has also been pushing the idea of the introduction of a global levy that would ensure that banks pay their fare share.

Having spoken about the idea at a meeting of G-20 finance chiefs in July to little avail, he is now hoping to enlist the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to move the issue forward.

Schäuble has said:

"This may help us in Europe to resolve the dilemma of a good idea failing just because it won't work unless our neighbours are doing the same thing. In the end this requires global regulation."

A levy at the EU level was proposed as far back as September 2011.