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Apple Set to Appeal EU Tax Ruling This Week

EU-apple-taxApple is set to appeal this week against the European Commission's ruling that it must pay up to 13 billion euros ($13.8 billion) to Ireland in back taxes (via Reuters).

EU regulators concluded in August that Apple had received undue tax benefits from Ireland – where the company's European headquarters are located – which allowed it to pay substantially less than other companies.

Apple CEO Tim Cook vowed to appeal the ruling at the time, calling the back tax calculation a "false number" and the EU's judgement "total political crap". The Irish government also rejected the conclusion and said it would fight to reverse it.

On Monday, Apple's General Counsel Bruce Sewell told Reuters that the company's imminent legal challenge will be based on its belief that EU regulators willfully ignored tax experts to come to its conclusions.
"The Irish put in an expert opinion from an incredibly well-respected Irish tax lawyer. The Commission not only didn't attack that - didn't argue with it, as far as we know - they probably didn't even read it. Because there is no reference (in the EU decision) whatsoever."
Sewell also said Apple intends to challenge the EU's basis for its penalty judgement, and will argue that a "crazy notion of non-residency" was chosen on purpose to produce a punitive amount, when other legitimate tax law arguments could have been used that would "produce much lower numbers". As to why the EU had gone down its chosen route, Sewell said he believed regulators had singled out the company because of its success.
"Apple is not an outlier in any sense that matters to the law. Apple is a convenient target because it generates lots of headlines. It allows the commissioner to become Dane of the year for 2016," he said, referring to the title accorded by Danish newspaper Berlingske last month.
Ireland also issued a statement on Monday, saying that the EU commission had "misunderstood the relevant facts and Irish law".
"Ireland did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple - the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no state aid was provided," it said. "Ireland does not do deals with taxpayers."
In addition, Apple says it plans to tell the court that the Commission erred when it ruled that Ireland-based Apple Sales International (ASI) and Apple Operations Europe existed only on paper, with no justification for the billions of euros it posted in untaxed profits. Sewell said that just because a holding company has no employees on its books doesn't mean it is inactive, since it could be actively managed by employees of its parent company:
"When Tim Cook, who is the CEO of our company, makes decisions that impact ASI, the Commission says we don't care because he is not an ASI employee, he is an Apple Inc employee. But to say that somehow Tim Cook can't make decisions for ASI is a complete mis-statement of corporate law, it's a misunderstanding of how corporations operate."
The strongly worded statements from Apple and the Irish government form a two-pronged attack on the European Commission as it readies a more detailed version of its ruling for publication before the court case begins.

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

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38 months ago
Q4 is coming up for my business in the Netherlands. I have to pay the full load. Its crazy how these system works for those big company's. I have zero sympathy.
Rating: 28 Votes
38 months ago

How about not, and just pay what is due as defined by the Irish Law...

The corporate tax rate in Ireland is 12.5% yet Apple only paid 0.05% effectively
Rating: 25 Votes
38 months ago
Drop the prices of apple products in EU and I might have some sympathy ....otherwise pay up, I have to :)
Rating: 25 Votes
38 months ago

How about just pay the taxes?


How about not, and just pay what is due as defined by the Irish Law...
Rating: 21 Votes
38 months ago
I have no sympathy. Apple are openly greedy. Hurts when it comes back to bite you doesn't it, Apple? Stop flaunting your high profit margins if you don't want people to start looking into your tax arrangements. Cough up or reduce prices, bloody thieves.
Rating: 18 Votes
38 months ago
How about just pay the taxes?
Rating: 18 Votes
38 months ago
Apple was given an unfair tax rate. Pay up. You gambled. You lost.
Rating: 13 Votes
38 months ago

Drop the prices of apple products in EU and I might have some sympathy ....otherwise pay up, I have to :)

They pay everything the Irish Government wants them to. I'm an Irish tax payer, and I also pay everything the Irish Government wants me to. And I'm quite happy that businesses get massive tax breaks here, because the foreign investment it brings means most people have a decent enough standard of living, and a choice of jobs when the need arises.
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Forgive me for my ignorance, but whenever I see this story I can't help but think... if found "guilty" wasn't it Ireland who broke the law?

That's the problem -- it's very questionable whether any "laws" were broken here, or whether the EU have the power to interfere with Ireland's internal tax affairs at all.
Rating: 9 Votes
38 months ago
Tell me something. Why should EU customers who order their products online, and thus via Ireland, have to pay more for the same products, when Apple pays less tax?

Also. If you (Apple) pay less than the normal amount of tax, in Ireland, then you know that something isn't right. And then to blame the EU is stupid. Remember. If I buy something in Spain, then I am paying the Spanish taxes. Not the Irish tax, and thus they (Apple) should pay the full amount of the country of the resident that orders the product. Nothing less.
Rating: 9 Votes
38 months ago

And you're suggesting that a supposedly sovereign nation shouldn't have the option to give a company a lower tax rate as an incentive to build a factory?


By joining the EU, Ireland has signed treaties governing this.

"The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibits government subsidies to private industry and state-owned companies like airlines and steel manufacturers. The treaty has been interpreted to prohibit financial assistance by means of tax breaks to specific taxpayers or selected classes of taxpayers like multinationals. Prohibited state aid involves a subsidy (“advantage”) directed to a particular class (“selectivity”). A discretionary tax break for a specific multinational is state aid. That is black-letter law in the EU." (from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/leesheppard/2016/09/05/the-eu-case-against-apples-irish-tax-deal/#278318847e2b)

what's in question isn't the low taxes Ireland offers companies in general; what's in question is why Ireland offered Apple much better deals than anyone else - and according to EU law (which Ireland has signed to uphold) it's illegal to give unfair advantages to individual companies.

The 14 billion $ they're supposed to pay are no penalty - they're the amount Apple paid less than all other companies who were profiting from low corporate tax in Ireland as well.
Rating: 9 Votes

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