Apple states iPhone apps are not for business use

A Swedish customer found out the hard way that applications sold through the iTunes store are for personal use only, with business use forbidden by Apple, when trying to reclaim tax on a purchase he made from the store, according to news site The Register.

With a business section containing 78 pages of apps on the iTunes Application Store, one would assume that they are aimed at business use. However, one customer was advised that "The iTunes Store sells only to customers as end-users for personal, noncommercial use."

Posting in his blog, the Sweden-based customer was told that "the specific terms of your agreement with Apple when purchasing from the iTunes Store is that the content may not be used for commercial purposes... any attempts to claim your purchases for tax reasons would be in violation of the terms of sale."

The issue arose after the customer complained to Apple when they found that the receipt provided lacked the information required for reclaiming Value Added Tax (VAT) - a European sales tax. All countries within the EU charge VAT, although how much and on what depends on the individual country's tax laws. In the UK and Sweden, VAT is added to so-called "luxury" products. As a business does not have any luxuries it can reclaim the tax, providing it has suitable receipt.

Taking a look at the UK terms and conditions, you can see it does clearly state "Your license of Products as authorized hereunder permits you to use the Products only for personal, non-commercial use."

The reasoning behind the terms is likely down to simplifying the complicated tax laws of the EU. In order for a UK business to buy from the app store, they would have to send their VAT registration number to Apple. Apple would then remove the VAT from the transaction. However, as The Register writes, "Apple can't be arsed with all that."

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