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
63 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
63 months ago
0.005%......yet no special deal was made?.....yea right mr.cook!
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crosscreek Avatar
63 months ago
Be careful Apple ....your socially irresponsible under belly is showing.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lord Hamsa Avatar
63 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
63 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
63 months ago
Ireland is the poster child of how Corp neoliberalism is eroding sovereignty and modern society.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple watch 6s 202009

Bloomberg: Apple Watch Series 7 to Feature Thinner Screen Bezels, Faster Processor, and Updated Ultra Wideband Tech

Monday June 14, 2021 3:41 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 7 is likely to have thinner display bezels and use a new lamination technique that brings the display closer to the front cover, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The Cupertino, California-based tech giant is planning to refresh the line this year -- with a model likely dubbed the Apple Watch Series 7 -- by adding a faster processor,...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
m1 imac back

Some M1 iMac Models Shipping With Crooked Mountings

Monday June 14, 2021 12:50 pm PDT by
Some M1 iMacs appear to have a manufacturing defect that causes the display to be mounted on the stand in a way that's not perfectly aligned, leading to a crooked display. YouTuber iPhonedo over the weekend published a review of the M1 iMac, and he found that his machine appeared to be tilted on one side, a mounting disparity that was visibly noticeable and proved with a ruler. Another...
ios 15 home screen icons

iOS 15 Lets You Drag and Drop Images and Text Across Apps

Saturday June 12, 2021 3:17 pm PDT by
Apple this week previewed iOS 15, which is available now in beta for developers ahead of a public release later this year. One smaller but useful new feature added is the ability to drag and drop images, text, files, and more across apps on iPhone. MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci demonstrated the new feature in a tweet: Using cross-app drag and drop on iPhone in iOS 15. Finally 🎉 #WW ...
ipad iphone duo ios 12

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 12.5.4 Security Fix for Older iPhones and iPads

Monday June 14, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today released new iOS and iPadOS 12.5.4 updates, with the new software aimed at older devices that are unable to run the iOS 14 update that's available on modern devices. The iOS and iPadOS 12.5.4 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software...
apple new iphone case colors

Apple Releases New Sunflower, Cloud Blue and Electric Orange iPhone 12 Cases

Monday June 14, 2021 11:12 am PDT by
Apple today released silicone iPhone cases for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini in a series of new colors that include sunflower, cloud blue, and electric orange. Sunflower is a bright yellow shade, cloud blue is a soft, light blue, and electric orange is a bright orange that's darker than the kumquat color and more orange than pink citrus. The new cases are priced starting...
files app ipados 15

iPadOS 15: Files App Gains NTFS Support, Progress Indicator, and More

Tuesday June 15, 2021 3:41 am PDT by
Apple in iPadOS 15 has added the ability to access NTFS-formatted media from within the Files app. The additional support for the Windows-related format, first discovered by YouTuber Steven Fjordstrøm, is read-only, so like on macOS you can't modify files stored on NTFS devices, but you can at least copy any data on them for working on elsewhere on your iPad. The Files app has also gotten a...
apple virtual game controller ios 15

Apple Makes New On-Screen Game Controller Available to Developers on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

Saturday June 12, 2021 12:36 pm PDT by
During the Platforms State of the Union at WWDC this week, Apple unveiled a new API for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 that enables developers to implement an on-screen virtual game controller in their iPhone and iPad games with just a few lines of code. While many iPhone and iPad games already offer on-screen controls, Apple's new virtual game controller is available to all developers, easy to add,...
apple store palo alto

Apple Stores to Drop Mask Requirement for Vaccinated Customers This Week

Sunday June 13, 2021 11:31 am PDT by
Apple will no longer require vaccinated customers to wear masks inside their retail stores in the U.S, a major shift in policy compared to last month, according to Bloomberg. The new change, expected to go into effect on Tuesday, will no longer require customers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear masks inside Apple Stores in the United States. Bloomberg notes that Apple...
nomad airtag wallet card 2

Nomad's Latest Accessory Makes It Easier to Put an AirTag in Your Wallet

Monday June 14, 2021 12:00 pm PDT by
Nomad, known for its range of accessories designed for Apple devices, today announced the Card for AirTag, which is designed to make it easier for an AirTag to fit inside a wallet for tracking purposes. With Card for AirTag, an AirTag fits inside the middle of a card-shaped holder that's then meant to fit inside of a wallet. According to Nomad, the design offers a smooth, uniform shape that...