Apple says EU tax ruling political crap Tim Cook has said Apple will appeal the EU ruling demanding payment of 3 billion euro ($14.5bn) as back tax.
DUBLIN: Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook described an EU ruling that it must pay a huge tax bill to Ireland as “total political crap”, but France joined Germany on Thursday in backing Brussels as transatlantic tensions grow.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager dismissed Cook’s broadside, saying the demand for a 13 billion euro ($14.5bn) back tax payment was based on the facts.
Washington has lined up with the tech giant, accusing the European Union of trying to grab tax revenue that should go to the US government.
But in Ireland itself, public opinion and the government are divided over whether to take the windfall – which would fund the country’s health system for a year – or reject it in the hope of maintaining a low tax regime that has attracted many multinationals and the jobs they create.
Apple has said it will appeal the ruling which Cook attacked in an interview with the Irish Independent. “No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together. Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable,” the newspaper quoted him saying. “It’s total political crap.”
Vestager has questioned how anyone might think an arrangement that allowed the iPhone maker to pay a tax rate of 0.005 percent, as Apple’s main Irish unit did in 2014, was fair.
She said on Thursday that the calculations were based on data provided by Apple itself and evidence presented during hearings on Apple tax issues in the United States.
Asked if she accepted Cook’s comments on the ruling, she told a news conference: “No, I will not. This is a decision based on the facts of the case.” The battle lines are forming on both sides of the Atlantic. In Paris, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin backed Vestager’s view that Apple’s Irish tax arrangements amounted to abnormal state aid. “The European Commission is doing its job,” he told a news conference. “It’s normal to make Apple pay normal taxes.”
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel also supported the Commission on Tuesday. However, Britain – which voted in June to leave the EU – has stayed out of the row, saying it is an issue for the Irish government, Apple and the Commission.