Report Says U.S. Government Filed to Intervene in Apple's Tax Appeal in Europe

The U.S. government has filed an application with the General Court of the European Union to intervene in an ongoing tax-related case between Apple and the European Commission, according to Reuters.

"I can confirm the United States filed an application with the European Union General Court to intervene in the case involving the retroactive application of state aid rules to Apple," said the source, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The report did not specify when the application was submitted, so it's unclear if it occurred under the Barack Obama or Donald Trump administrations.

Last August, following a three-year investigation, the European Commission found Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland. The iPhone maker allegedly paid between 0.005 percent and 1 percent in taxes in Ireland between 2003 and 2014, compared to the the country's headline 12.5 percent corporate tax rate.

The European Commission ordered Apple to pay up to 13 billion euros to Ireland in back taxes as a result of its decision.

Apple has not paid the amount and appealed the case in December, arguing that the European Commission made "fundamental errors" by failing to recognize that its "profit-driving activities," in particular the development and commercialization of intellectual property, were controlled and managed in the United States.

Ireland has also appealed the case, denying that it gave any favourable tax treatment to Apple. In a statement, the Irish government said the full amount of tax in the case was paid by Apple, adding that no state aid was provided. "Ireland does not do deals with taxpayers," the country said.

Apple's top lawyer Bruce Sewell earlier said the company is a "convenient target" because it "generates lots of headlines," allowing European commissioner Margrethe Vestager to become "Dane of the year" for 2016.

The report, citing a source with knowledge of the matter, said the General Court is expected to hear the case in late 2018.

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Top Rated Comments

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38 months ago
Not sure what the US government can say to help Apple. The arrangement Apple has with Ireland is ludicrous, and it is little wonder the EU are taking action.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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38 months ago
Apple found a loophole. Close the loophole, raise the taxes on them going forward, but don't penalize them for something that was previously agreed to by the Irish government.
If the Ireland violated the EU by making the agreement with Apple, they should be penalized.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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38 months ago

As long as the same arrangement was available to all companies it is nothing to do with the EU. They don't get to set countries tax rates.

Yes it does. You are in the EU, you agree to abide by their rules. Don't like it, get out.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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38 months ago
Just want to clarify for my own head:

Ireland claims they have the right to negotiate taxes Independantly of the EU with international organizations. Even despite their own corporate flat tax rate.

Apple is claiming that the revenues that Apple claims in Ireland aren't taxable in Ireland because the Revenues are only earned because of invention / R&D that is created in the US.

Apple claims on their US tax forms most of their money is earned internationally, and they don't need to pay taxes on their full profits in the US.


Am I missing something? I know creative accounting is the name of the game, But how does Apple believe that they can claim profits / revenues in areas, not paying taxes in those areas and then claiming it's fine because they run businesses elsewhere.
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No. That misconception is part of the problem. Apple pays more taxes than any U.S. company based on their earnings. Should they pay even more simply because they're the most successful?

The question is, how much of their earnings based on percentage is Apple paying?

Taxation needs to be progressive in nature to be able to afford all the industry and infrastructure we all require. Companies who make a lot less than Apple, who cannot afford the international manipulations of tax load that major corporations can, are the ones who inevitably end up paying a higher percentage of their own profits to taxes than the larger companies

While Apple might be the #1 payer of tax, if they're paying at a rate that is far lower than companies who make less than them, this is the problem

In addition, Apple likes to report all their profits / earnings in their US balance sheets, but only pay taxes on money earned in the US. While I agree that you should only be paying taxes on Profits in a region, if you're going to claim all your international profits are your US corporate profits, than thats what you pay tax on.

Apple should be forced to break their books up by nationality that they participate in, and should be forced to file taxation on a per country basis.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago

The arrangement Apple has with Ireland is ludicrous, and it is little wonder the EU are taking action.

As long as the same arrangement was available to all companies it is nothing to do with the EU. They don't get to set countries tax rates.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago
Isn't it pathetic? Apple goes crying to the US government because it fiddled money, effectively laundering it IMO, and the EU takes issue with 'Ireland' on it, yet Apple then tries to argue no..

They really should shut up and pay Ireland, it was a very clear breach of law.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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