Apple has turned down the invitation to publicly testify before the European Parliament’s special committee on tax evasion. According to the company, the reason is that it doesn’t want to risk doing anything which could harm its ongoing appeal against the massive EU tax bill it faces.
In a letter to the EU committee published today, Apple said that, “It is important to ensure public commentary does not prejudice those proceedings.”
Claire Thwaites, Apple’s senior director of European government affairs, wrote that, “Since the appeal is ongoing and likely to be heard at the General Court in the near future we will not be able to participate in a public hearing on this topic as it could be detrimental to the proceedings at the Court and any potential appeals thereafter.”
Apple vs. EU
The European Commission ordered that Apple pay $16 billion back in August 2016. This is based on a so-called “sweetheart deal” under which Apple allegedly received favorable tax rates in Ireland.
This is rotten! #Apple refuses to testify before the special committee on tax evasion of the European Parliament. No company stands above democracy! We should now withdraw Apple’s lobby badges to access to the Parliament! This is the company’s letter: pic.twitter.com/U2I4G6jNp9
— Sven Giegold (@sven_giegold) June 1, 2018
According to the European investigation, Apple paid a tax rate of as little as 0.005 percent on its European profits in 2014. To put that number in perspective, it’s around $50 tax for every $1 million the company brought in.
Apple finally started paying the enormous tax bill last month by transferring the first 1.5 billion euro instalment. This money will be held in escrow until the case — and Apple’s appeal — is concluded. Apple has always maintained that it pays every cent of tax that it owes.
Despite that, we totally understand why Apple wouldn’t want to risk putting a foot out of line by doing anything which could imperil its position.
After all, even for the world’s most valuable company, $16 billion is a significant amount to potentially lose!