Tim Cook Pens Open Letter on Tax Evasion Claims, Says Apple is Confident Decision 'Will be Reversed'

tim_cook_headshot_glassesTim Cook has posted an open letter on Apple's website in response to the European Commission's ruling that Apple must pay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes dating from 2003 through 2014.

Cook's letter begins by discussing Apple's long history in Ireland, which dates back to a small facility that housed 60 employees in 1980. That statistic has now expanded to 6,000 employees across Ireland in total, benefiting both the company and local economies.

As it's grown, Cook says that Apple has become "the largest taxpayer in the world," and that "Apple follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe." Directly confronting the European Commission's ruling, Cook claims that the EC has "launched an effort to rewrite Apple's history in Europe."

As responsible corporate citizens, we are also proud of our contributions to local economies across Europe, and to communities everywhere. As our business has grown over the years, we have become the largest taxpayer in Ireland, the largest taxpayer in the United States, and the largest taxpayer in the world.

Over the years, we received guidance from Irish tax authorities on how to comply correctly with Irish tax law — the same kind of guidance available to any company doing business there. In Ireland and in every country where we operate, Apple follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe.

The Apple CEO points out that the claim -- stating Ireland gave Apple a "special deal" on its taxes -- is completely false and "has no basis in fact or in law." Cook thinks the commission's ruling also has the potential to set a dangerous precedent, because it is attempting to replace tangible Irish tax laws "with a view of what the Commission thinks the law should have been."

The opinion issued on August 30th alleges that Ireland gave Apple a special deal on our taxes. This claim has no basis in fact or in law. We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals. We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don't owe them any more than we've already paid.

Apple's next move is to appeal the Commission's ruling, which Ireland is said to be doing as well, with Cook remaining "confident" that the decision will ultimately be reversed and the company won't have to pay the 13 billion euros after all. Throughout all of the current drama and turmoil, Cook reiterates that Apple is "committed to Ireland" and that the company has no plans to stop investing in a future not only for its customers there, but its employees as well.

Read Cook's full letter about the European Commissions' ruling here.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

keysofanxiety Avatar
57 months ago
Can't say you're getting much sympathy here, Timmy.

You've been hosing customers for years with high prices and (still expensive) entry-level products that just don't perform to an Apple standard. You've been making ludicrous profit margins on every product and building up a wall of cash to sit on. You've been smashing down on suppliers to lower the costs even further, yet maintain those same high prices and margins on products.

You raise prices in countries when the exchange rate is having a few hiccups, when if anything, they should be lowered due to the age of the tech. As you're not an engineer or even a Mac user, you have no appreciation of how much difference even a simple Fusion drive can make in entry-level Mac Minis, for an utterly negligible cost. You do all this and still sniff your own farts about Apple being the best company in the world and make products that enrich people's lives.

Even with all this considered, I've been defending Apple left, right, and centre where I believe it's applicable.

But now that we find out Apple have been paying 0.005% tax on European sales? The deep realisation has hit me that you couldn't give a damn about your customers' experience, and no amount of money or profits will ever be enough for you, or convince you to appropriately put back into the products you sell.

For what utterly little it's worth (and it is very, very, very little to you, I'm sure), you've turned this passionate Apple fan and defender into a jaded, listless user, praying that his 2012 MBP won't die.
Score: 74 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Robstevo Avatar
57 months ago
0.005%......yet no special deal was made?.....yea right mr.cook!
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crosscreek Avatar
57 months ago
Be careful Apple ....your socially irresponsible under belly is showing.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lord Hamsa Avatar
57 months ago
1) Apple is a publicly traded company, and as such, has a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders to use any legal means to minimize its tax liabilities.

2) Ireland's current tax laws that Apple is taking advantage of may or may not need to be updated based on how things have changed since they were first written. Whether they should be or not is a subjective matter that can be discussed by all stakeholder parties, and any changes made need to be in line with other Ireland and EU governing policies.

3) However, the EU simply cannot retrospectively change Ireland tax laws on what they think they should have been. The only relevant question is did Apple follow existing Ireland tax law correctly? If so, they cannot impose a retroactive tax on Apple. The EU does have leverage to drive changes to Ireland's tax policies moving forward, though.

4) This type of ham-handed extra-legislative action by the EU is exactly the type of thing that got the "Brexit" stuff started (and even passed). If the EU bureaucrats continue to overstep their boundaries and supersede the legislatures and courts of the member countries, they're going to continue to find themselves with fewer member countries (and more to the point, the net tax-paying countries that can both afford to leave and have the biggest impact when they do).
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ibookg409 Avatar
57 months ago

I wonder how long the appeal process will take before a final outcome is decided and either Apple has to pay or doesn't. Could be years I suspect.

If they keep appealing long enough the case may outlast the EU.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zachari Avatar
57 months ago
Ireland is the poster child of how Corp neoliberalism is eroding sovereignty and modern society.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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