Apple: Massive EU tax bill is just about making headlines

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Apple's general counsel thinks the move against Apple is basically clickbait.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has launched its legal challenge against the European Union’s demand of $14 billion in allegedly unpaid back taxes.

In a statement, Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell said Cupertino has been targeted because of its success, implying that European legislators picked on the company for largely symbolic reasons.

“Apple is not an outlier in any sense that matters to the law,” Sewell said. “Apple is a convenient target because it generates lots of headlines.”

Sewell also accused the European Commission of not reading a report from a respected tax lawyer that went against the anti-Apple decision.

“The Irish have put in an expert opinion from an incredibly well-respected Irish tax lawyer,” Sewell wrote. “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.”

Apple’s Irish tax strategy

Apple has been backed by Ireland, where it is a major investor, in its fight against the giant tax bill.

The bill in question was handed to Apple back in August. The EU claims Apple took advantage of illegal state aid that allowed the company to route its profits through Ireland. The investigation alleged that Apple paid as little as 0.005 percent on all European profits in 2014. Apple CEO Tim Cook has denied any wrongdoing.

Whether or not you think Apple should be paying more taxes in Europe, there seems little doubt that the company was given an excessively large bill partially as a warning shot to other companies.

Shortly after the bill was levied against Apple, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the eurozone’s finance ministers, accused the company of “failing to grasp” the public outcry concerning tax avoidance by multinational corporations.

Source: Reuters