Stephen Fry has added his voice to the Apple tax row by saying he has “no patience” for big firms paying low rates of tax.
Apple has been at the centre of reports over the last month after the European Commission ordered the tech giant to pay €13 billion (£11 billion) in back taxes to Ireland. The commission ruling came after an investigation into tax arrangements between Apple and Ireland. They claimed the “sweetheart deal” between the country and Apple means the multi-national company was effectively paying a corporate tax rate of one per cent.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook condemned the decision in an open letter accusing the EU of “re-writing” Apple’s history in Europe and said the claim of a special deal on taxes “has no basis in fact or in law”. Both Ireland and Apple have said they will challenge the ruling.
Fry, a self-confessed Apple fan who was speaking at the launch of the new iPhone 7 on Wednesday, told the BBC: “I think everybody should pay absolutely the rate of tax that is right.”
When he was asked if that means Apple, specifically, should be paying more, he said: “I guess, I don’t know every detail but it seems they should.
“I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said ‘tax is the price we pay for civilisation’ and if people are not paying tax properly then obviously civilisation falters. Our streets don’t get lit, there’s more crime, everything gets worse so I have absolutely no patience with any of these large companies getting away with [paying] minuscule rates if taxation.”
Fry’s stance differs substantially from the controversial Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary who last week suggested the Irish government tell the EU to "f*** off".
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