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Apple's $59M Australian tax bill in the spotlight as international tax row continues

Apple Australia recorded a gross tax rate of slightly more than 1 percent in 2015, Australian government records indicate, focusing attention once again on the iPhone maker's international tax strategy.


Apple Store on George St. in Sydney


Apple sent just AU$85 million ($59 million) to Australian government coffers last year after recording revenues of AU$7.9 billion, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Apple Australia reported an after-tax profit of AU$123 million, a AU$51.5 million year-over-year decline.

The iPhone maker — along with a number of other major multinational firms — has come under fire from governments around the world in recent years over its tax avoidance strategies. Using legal loopholes and complex arrangements of foreign affiliates, companies like Apple and Google can achieve effective tax rates far lower than the statutory rates.

Last year, Apple warned investors that one ongoing investigation into the company's tax arrangements with the Irish government could lead to a penalty which would have a "material" impact on Apple's bottom line.

Down under, Apple, Google, and other foreign tech firms are facing a legislative backlash over their tax policies. The Australian Tax Office has begun more aggressive audits, currently focusing on Apple's 2012 accounts.

"The Australian Taxation Office is currently auditing the company's tax position for 2012," Apple's most recent filing read. "As at the date of this report, the outcome of the tax audit cannot be predicted with certainty and reliably estimated, no adjustments have been recognised in the financial statements."

An Apple spokesperson told the Herald that "Apple Australia pays all taxes it owes in accordance with Australian law."