Apple moving international iTunes arm to Ireland next month

The company hasn't been shaken by the EU's demands for payback from Irish tax deal.

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In a note sent out to developers, Apple has confirmed it's moving its international iTunes business from Luxembourg to its European hub in Ireland effective February 5th. The company pre-empted the move last September, when it transferred all developer contracts and an estimated $9 billion in assets between the countries in preparation. And from next month, responsibility for Apple's iTunes arm serving over 100 countries (not including the US) -- and covering the iTunes, iBook and App Stores as well as Apple Music -- will formally transfer to its offices in Cork, Ireland.

What's particularly interesting about the commitment is the European Union's kerfuffle with Apple over its favorable tax arrangements in Ireland clearly hasn't put the company off expanding its operations in the country -- Luxembourg is something of a tax haven itself, of course. At the end of August last year, the EU Commission concluded Apple must pay €13 billion (just shy of $14 billion by current exchange rates) plus interest in what are effectively back taxes, arguing that a seriously low tax deal agreed with the Irish government amounted to an illegal competitive advantage (aka "state aid").

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called the ruling "total political crap," while Ireland believes the EU is overstepping its authority and misconstruing local law. Both are working together to appeal the ruling, and it's perhaps this solidarity that has convinced Apple to progress with its plans to ship its iTunes business out of Luxembourg.