A recent article in El Pais (in English here) was titled « 7 internet giants only pay Spain 1 million in taxes ». Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay and Microsoft, TOGETHER (!!!), were only able to declare 1,251,608 € in profits in Spain. Apple’s retail business in Spain actually lost money meaning they will be able to deduct those losses from any future taxable profits.
In 2012, Spain, already in a perilous economic state, was convinced to further lighten the load on struggling companies like Apple by shifting the private copying compensation system on to the State budget. I’ll leave aside the drop from 115m€ to 5m€ for rightsholders already decimated by cuts to cultural budgets and rampant piracy. Let’s just focus on the 5m€. 5m€ is, apparently, four times the combined profits of Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay and Microsoft. Apple and Google were the 2nd and 3rd biggest companies IN THE WORLD by market capitalisation in June 2013 according to Bloomberg Business Week.
Private copying is a key source of revenue for screenwriters and directors. The Spanish government has sacrificed them and its cultural industries to the benefit of international giants. It beggars belief.
Our economies are being bled dry. Played off against each other in a flurry of race to the bottom fiscal competition, exploited by law abiding multinationals. The entertainment and media industries are being hammered to come up with mutliterritorial licensing, Europe needs to come up with multiterritory taxation.