Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may have committed fraud in Italy according to a Reuters report. The report says that Italy is investigating the company’s tax payments in the country. The report was sourced from “a judicial source with direct knowledge of the matter.” Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has faced tax problems before, but this investigation may be tougher.

Apple tax

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), like most multi-national corporations, puts a good deal of effort into reducing its tax bill in order to keep that money in its own accounts. Those arguing for the company say that lowering tax costs is part of management’s obligation to shareholders. Those who disagree with the practice say that it wrongfully keeps billions of dollars out of government coffers.

Apple Italian tax investigation

According to Zerohedge, Italian authorities carried out a raid of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) corporate headquarters in Milan. Computers and documents were taken from the company as part of the investigation into its tax practices. Investigators are apparently alleging that the company used an Irish corporation to hide $1.4 billion in taxes.

The Italian tax investigation may be a more difficult hurdle for the Cupertino company than previous tax issues. Italy has recently gone after several high profile multinational companies in order to find out if their tax practices are illegal. The highest profile case was brought against fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. The two were given 20 month suspended jail sentences for tax evasion, and a fine of up to 10 million euro.

Apple tax problems

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been asked for information about its taxes in the United Kingdom and the United States in recent months. The company passes a great deal of its international taxes through Ireland, allowing them to bypass taxes in many European countries and those around the world. Investigations so far have found that the practice is not illegal, but tax authorities may consider regulating the way Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) pays its taxes.

There is no doubt that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) avoids paying most of its taxes throughout the world, but the question is whether the company does so illegally. The Italian tax investigation into Apple will decide about the company’s practices there, but there may be more trouble on the way as its tax practices come into the spotlight.