In his first reaction to the European Commission ruling that Ireland must demand 13 billion euros in taxes from Apple, CEO Tim Cook of the multinational technology major on Thursday dismissed the tax evasion allegations as “total political crap”.
In an interview to Irish Independent newspaper, Cook said Ireland is being “picked on”.
“I think we’ll work very closely together, as we have the same motivation. No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together. Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable,” Cook told the newspaper.
He also said that the Cupertino, San Francisco-based company will “go forward” with an expansion in Cork, Ireland.
Cook also rejected the assertion by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager that Apple paid only 0.005 per cent tax in Ireland in 2014.
“They just picked a number from I don’t know where. In the year that the Commission says we paid that tax figure, we actually paid $400 million. We believe that makes us the highest taxpayer in Ireland that year,” Cook was quoted as saying.
The Apple CEO also described the ruling as “maddening and disappointing”, denying allegations of ever having a special deal with the Irish government.
Earlier, in a setback to Apple just before the much-awaited launch of its iPhone 7, the EU announced that Ireland must demand 13 billion euros in taxes from company.
“We have concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to 13 billion euros to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid,” an EU statement read.
Following an in-depth state aid investigation launched in June 2014, the European Commission concluded that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple have substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991.
“The rulings endorsed a way to establish the taxable profits for two Irish incorporated companies of the Apple group (Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe), which did not correspond to economic reality: almost all sales profits recorded by the two companies were internally attributed to a head office,” the statement further said.
The White House, however, termed the EU order for Apple to pay taxes to Ireland as unfair.
According to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the decision is amounted to a “transfer of revenue from US taxpayers to the EU”.
Earnest said the White House was concerned about a “unilateral approach” that threatened to undermine progress that had been made to try to make the international taxation system “fair”, rte.ie reported.
Cook, however, was confident that the Irish government will appeal against the EU ruling.