France orders Apple to pay $6.5M in taxes for 2011 iPad sales

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A French professional association that collects revenue for artists' copyrighted works has charged Apple $6.5 million in taxes related to iPad sales in 2011.

The fee of 5 million euros passed on to Apple was revealed by the association known as SACEM, and highlighted by Rude Baguette. The charge comes from a tax that applies in a number of countries across Europe, including France and Germany, that applies to all digital devices that can be used with copyrighted material.

After the fees are collected by SACEM, those taxes are doled out to authors, creators, producers, actors and others.

According to the organization, Apple charged the SACEM fee to consumers who bought iPads in 2011, but the 5 million in euros were never paid to the association.

The French government has also recently considered instituting a so-called "culture tax" on devices like Apple's iPhone and iPad lineup. By levying a 1 percent tax on technology hardware, France would then receive roughly 86 million euros per year that would go to cultural industries focused on French music, images and videos.

As of the end of its last fiscal quarter, Apple had $145 billion in cash and investments, $100 billion of which is housed overseas. As the company's cash hoard has grown, so too has criticism of the taxes it pays.

The $6.5 million sum being charged in France is minuscule compared to the billions in taxes that some believe should be paid in the U.S. Though Apple has broken no laws in sheltering funds overseas, the company came under fire from U.S. lawmakers last month during a Senate subcommittee hearing attended by CEO Tim Cook.