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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31 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.
Rating: 32 Votes
31 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.
Rating: 20 Votes
31 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.
Rating: 18 Votes
31 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.
Rating: 16 Votes
31 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.
Rating: 14 Votes
31 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.
Rating: 11 Votes
31 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.


Exactly! I don't understand people who are against Apple on this case.

Let's say that you find a good deal, a brand new iPhone for only $400! You buy it and use it. A year later, the seller contacts you to tell you that the price was wrong and that you should have payed $700 in total so you have to pay him an additional $300. Then, people will start calling you a theif because you didn't pay the full price of the iPhone that you found for a cheaper price...
Rating: 10 Votes
31 months ago

While that makes sense for you and I from a consumer basis, this isn't how government and taxation law works in most countries.

in Business and consumer law, you and I have a contract with the company we are buying from. So when you or I purchase an iPhone, we are establishing a contract between yourself and Apple for the purchase. The laws/rules surrounding contract law are much different, in that there's a lot more leeway as to whats allowed

for government and tax law, there are significantly harder rules and far more scrutiny required. Private entities and governments generally are not allowed to negotiate individual exceptions to taxation policies. I'm not 100% certain myself, but in this case, As being part of the EU, the EU is claiming that Ireland does not have the legal right to negotiate such a deal with Apple. Thus, the deal itself that Apple claims it has with Ireland is deemed illegal from the day it was negotiated and no contract can upheld or honoured that contains illegal terms.


Every EU state can set their taxations as they want, but it has to be fair, same for every enterprises within the state. If Apple alone receives a special regime, that is unfair for Apple's competitors. Therefore illegal.
Rating: 10 Votes
31 months ago

Which ever way you look at it, as cube says the deal Apple struck with Ireland was mainly a Tax dodge. Jobs and consruction secondary.

But the deal was struck on Irish soil, personally I don't think the EU should have any say in it.

and I voted for our Country to remain in the eu.


if you don't believe that EU should have any sway in Ireland monetary policy, than staying in the EU is not what you want.

and the whole point of the EU as a monetary entity is so that, regardless of whose soil it's on, it's all EU.

Ireland cannot have it both ways. Either stay in the EU and honour the EU policy, or leave the EU and go it on your own. You can't pick and choose what EU things to take and what to ignore.

it's like when Quebec wanted to seperate from Canada, but Canada ignore all their debt, use Canadian Currency, and automatically get included in All Canadian trade deals. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too. either do it yourself, or accept the terms of the agreement for joining.
Rating: 9 Votes
31 months ago

Apple stuck a very good tax deal with our Irish friends and this created jobs.

Who cares that it <1% tax

They are all up to it Google, Amazon and Facebook etc

- Other countries in the EU care because without a forbidden special deal, Apple might have chosen to establish elsewhere.

- Other companies care because special deals are unfair discriminatory competition.
Rating: 9 Votes

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