Apple reportedly sidestepped the taxman but not anti-trust accusations

The almost sweet taste of freedom

Apple Store

Back in May, it was reported that the European commission was looking into alleged anti-competitive practices Apple may have engaged in to push the iPhone.

At the time, a series of questionnaires were sent to retailers asking whether Apple convinced them to participate in such behavior, and included questions about purchase agreements.

Now, a little over a month later, French anti-trust group Autorite de la Concurrence is digging deeper into Apple's potentially harmful practices.

According to French paper Les Echos (via 9to5Mac), authorities searched numerous Apple offices, wholesalers, and retailers in an effort to uncover the truth behind possible anti-trust violations.

Nappletism

The whole issue was raised when EBizcuss, an Apple retailer in France, went bankrupt last year, prompting the company to file a suit against Apple with claims of "abuse of economic dependence" and "unfair competition."

EBizcuss' issue with the Cupertino company stemmed from a perceived favoritism for its own proprietary Apple stores, which left secondary retailers allegedly lacking products or scrambling to offer competitive pricing.

Whether the French authorities will find any conclusive evidence that Apple's own stores were the first to get products remains to be seen, but the accusations are clearly being taken very seriously.

As if Apple wasn't drawing enough unwanted attention over the anti-trust issue, the iPhone maker is also now drawing the ire of the U.K.'s tax collectors, as it somehow managed to avoid paying any taxes last year whatsoever.

iLoopholes

Despite earning £68 million ($103.6m, AU$112.1m) during the last fiscal year, the Financial Times (via CNET) reported Apple paid a grand total of zero in taxes in the U.K.

Just for some comparison, Apple paid out £11.4 million ($17.3m, AU$18.8m) in taxes for the 2011 fiscal year.

In order to avoid dropping so much money on taxation, Apple reportedly granted millions in stock awards to its employees, all of which was 100 percent tax deductible.

Apple is already under scrutiny for its practice of funneling 80 percent of its international income into an Ireland-based subsidiary, where the tax rate is a mere .05 percent.

While not illegal, the lengths to which major corporations like Apple will go to save a few million a year are sure to make the average tax payer cringe.

That said, it likely won't earn any favors should more of these anti-competitive complaints come to light, or if the allegations are found to be true.