Ireland to Appeal Against European Union's $14.5 Billion Apple Fine

In fact, he doesn't even try.

The great irony is that just as the European Union is starting to make inroads on this issue, Britain has voted to leave, based on old-fashioned arguments about national sovereignty that make little sense in the modern world. Sales of iPhones and Mac computers are down and the stock price is off by 4 per cent over the past year.

The European Commission ruled Tuesday that Apple must pay roughly 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes plus interest for what European authorities ruled were unpaid taxes accumulated over a decade that Apple owes Ireland. But as corporations both fight and rewrite the rules, occasionally cash-starved, debt-ridden nations are being enlisted to support their agenda. They claim Apple paid $400 million in Irish taxes that year.

The American company, which has never been shy to criticise its eternal rival Microsoft for anti-competitive practices, has now been found guilty of doing exactly that by using its size, power and success as a tool to extract an unjust business deal.

In a vehement response to the European ruling Michael Noonan, the finance minister, said that he would not allow a "bridgehead" to be established that would drive down the 12.5 per cent rate. Cook this week said Apple expects to bring back billions of dollars to the United States next year.

The European Commission's decision to impose a tax bill of 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) on Apple is unjust and unnecessary. That's why the OECD has been working with the G-20 and other nations since 2013 to design a Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) package, in hopes of coordinating actions internationally to reduce tax avoidance by corporations and individuals. They show the company dickering with Ireland over how much tax it was willing to pay, with the size of its Ireland workforce hanging in the balance.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says Ireland violated state-aid rules, which prohibit the selective support of particular companies. The Irish government is still considering whether to launch its own separate appeal.

Apple's Cook can't believe the inequity of it all. "So I think it clearly suggests that this is politics at play", he added. Ireland has trumpeted its very low tax rates for decades, created to attract investment and jobs. If only they would admit it.

Mr. Cook accuses the European Commission of playing politics. The amusing thing is, not all of Apple's profits are generated in Ireland. "To get to this meaningless 0.005 percent, the Commission completely ignores the fact that the vast majority of these profits were subject to U.S. taxation". The question remains, how do we make companies pay the appropriate level of taxes? Apple's reserves are $120 billion.

"All of us benefit when businesses pay their fair share of tax", she said.

The late Steve Jobs was the one who set up Apple's operations in Cork, Ireland, back in 1980.

Ireland is a pawn in the wider European Commission plan to harmonise taxes across the EU, Mr. Cook claimed.

In fact, what the really anxious about is the Europeans grabbing the Apple tax money first. According to testimony before the Senate panel, this maneuver and others saved Apple $7.7 billion in us taxes in 2011 alone. We do it in Canada, using government grants to compete with USA states for new auto assembly plants, or giving generous tax breaks to companies in the video gaming industry.

"We also accrued several billion in United States corporate tax on a deferred basis", Sewell said. "That's why it sometimes takes a long time to finish these investigations". So even though corporations have a high tax rate, it isn't very effective at bringing in money.

And spurred by the G20, the Organization for International Cooperation and Development (OECD) is shepherding discussions on what's called Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. So far, 85 countries have signed up for the talks, including Canada, the US and Ireland.

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