Tim Cook says that Apple is among the biggest Irish taxpayers, and claims anti-U.S. bias is “one reason” the company was targeted by the European Commission.
Cook was responding to this week’s news, in which Apple was handed an enormous tax bill of €13 billion ($14.52 billion) after an investigation into its reportedly illegal “sweetheart deal” in Ireland, giving it an unfair advantage over rivals.
In a new interview with the Irish Independent, Cook reiterated his view that tax accusations against Apple were “political crap,” and argued that Ireland is being “picked on” as part of a plan to harmonize taxes across the EU.
Cook also disputed the figures Apple’s tax bill had been based on, saying that, “They just picked a number from I don’t-know-where,” and that the year Apple is accused of shirking on its taxes, it was the “highest taxpayer in Ireland” with a bill of $400 million.
“This conclusion that the Commission has reached has no basis in law or in fact,” Cook argued. “So I think it clearly suggests that this is politics at play.”
He also criticized the retroactive fining of Apple for an agreed-upon tax rate, and said it was like changing the rules of a baseball game long after it had started.
On the subject of worldwide income tax, Cook pointed out that Apple currently pays 26.1 percent. He said that, “Some people would say that that should be higher and some might say it should be lower.”
Finally, Cook said Apple would not pull out of investing in Ireland, and noted that, “I feel like Ireland stuck with Apple when it wasn’t easy to stick with Apple, and now we’re sticking with Ireland.”
Apple has already said it plans to appeal the EC’s decision.