Despite logging billions in sales, a new report reveals all tax was paid to Australia instead...
Apple's tax dealings are back on the agenda, following reports that the iPhone maker paid no tax in New Zealand for at least a decade, despite recording total sales of NZ$4.2 billion (€2.74bn) there over the period.
An investigation by the New Zealand Herald found that Apple New Zealand had instead paid roughly NZ$37 million (€24.15m) to Australia since 2007 – the local unit's parent company is registered in the bigger country, with a treaty in place where tax is only paid in one jurisdiction.
Apple has defended its actions as completely legal.
In a statement, Australia Apple said:
"Apple is the largest taxpayer in the world and we appreciate and respect the role taxes play as necessary and important in our society.
"We follow the law and pay tax on everything we earn, wherever we operate. Apple aims to be a force for good and we're proud of the contributions we've made in New Zealand over the past decade."
One question mark over the deal is the fact that Australia's corporate tax rate (30%) is actually higher than New Zealand's (28%).
Regardless of the legal issue, Kiwi politicians have come out to question the morality of the arrangement.
Apple CEO Tim Cook
Green Party co-leader James Shaw told the NZ Herald:
"It is absolutely extraordinary that they are able to get away with paying zero tax in this country. It looks like their tax department is even more innovative than their product designers."
The report arrives mere weeks after New Zealand's revenue minister, Judith Collins, announced that the country would crack down on tax avoidance by multinationals with a New Zealand presence.
The consultation period for that ends on April 7th.
Company tax accounts for 15% of the country's total tax take. In December, a cabinet paper raised concerns that big global business was not paying its fair share.
The brewing Southern Hemisphere storm comes as Apple – with Ireland in its corner – engages in a major legal battle with the European Union following a landmark ruling that the company owed Ireland €13bn in backtaxes.
The European Commission found that the final tax Apple paid Ireland amounted to a rate of under 2%, despite the country's much-discussed 12.5% corporate tax rate.
It had come to light in 2014 that Apple shifts much of its international profits to Ireland.
Apple is appealing the decision, arguing that "the vast majority" of its taxes were paid in the US, where its "products and services are created, designed and engineered."
Apple CEO Tim Cook firmly rejects the commission's finding that Ireland had given Apple "a special deal".