Irish legislature invites Tim Cook, other Apple execs to hearing on $14.5B EU tax ruling

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An Irish legislative committee is reportedly optimistic that Apple CEO Tim Cook will accept an invitation to attend a late January hearing, which will examine the European Commission's ruling that Ireland must collect $14.5 billion in back taxes from the iPhone maker.




An invitation to Cook and other high-level Apple executives was sent out by the chairman of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, John McGuinness, the Irish Times said. Defending and explaining the ruling will be the European Union's Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager.

After a lengthy investigation, the Commission concluded in September that Ireland offered preferential tax breaks to Apple, something constituting illegal state aid -- under E.U. law, such breaks have to be offered to all companies equally. Similar decisions have been rendered against other countries and businesses.

Both Apple and the Irish government are contesting the ruling. While the latter nominally stands to benefit, it's believed to be concerned about scaring away other multinational corporations, which could take jobs and other economic benefits with them. Apple has already vowed to stay in the country, and even expand its footprint.

The company has insisted that it did nothing wrong and simply followed the law. It and other businesses have long used Ireland as a tax haven, however, exploiting loopholes to pay slim amounts on millions or billions in international revenue. At least some of those loopholes are now being closed.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,053member
    If Vestager will be there I don't see any benefit to Mr. Cook also taking part in it, and a couple of reasons why he should not. Let the Irish handle it. Of course only the players themselves have a clue on how they will approach it and if Mr Cook does choose to attend alongside Ms. Vestager it will be with a good gameplan in the briefcase. 
    edited December 2016 apple jockeyjony0
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Ireland's" tax breaks" (or the absence of a tax present in many other socialist countries) are only illegal to the European Union... not Irish law. Just because one country decides to become less of a burden to its people by exacting less a percentage of their LIVES (tantamount to slavery) doesn't make them a villain. The EU needs to stuff it, and look to their poster child of government-run business success: Greece.
    randominternetpersonviclauyyc
  • Reply 3 of 12
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,512member
    Give Ireland the money, Tim.  Don't let yam boy get his tiny fingers on it.
    viclauyyc
  • Reply 4 of 12
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    I think that Ireland and Apple should just stall and delay the whole thing for a little bit.

    There is a good chance that the EU will not exist soon. More member countries will be telling them to piss off soon, just like the UK did.

    And if something no longer exists, then you won't have to worry about paying them any money.
    jony0
  • Reply 5 of 12
    apple ][ said:
    I think that Ireland and Apple should just stall and delay the whole thing for a little bit.

    There is a good chance that the EU will not exist soon. More member countries will be telling them to piss off soon, just like the UK did.

    And if something no longer exists, then you won't have to worry about paying them any money.

    I wouldn't bet on that horse.  Yes a few counties might leave, but there is no provision for shutting down the EU even if half the countries left.  I've heard nothing about an Irish exit, so this thing has to play out.  I just find it amusing/surprising/admirable that the major Irish parties are trying to stand up to the EU about this--given they could easily get billions in tax revenue (from a foreign company) and blame it on the big, bad EU.  That sounds like excellent politics to me.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Ireland made a deal with Apple and others to foster development and jobs within their country. While they have taxing and regulatory responsibilities as an EU member to the EU, they chose to play the long game with these potential investors in order to gain advantage for their citizens. 

    The taxing and development authorities in Ireland have made the right choice in standing firm against EU close minded anti-open market within a market policy. Cook and company have every reason to be invited and to attend this meeting. Likely that they will file a friend of the 'defense' brief or similar filing and make Apples position crystal clear at the hearing/meeting, if given the forum.

  • Reply 7 of 12
    blitz1blitz1 Posts: 410member
    kaipher said:
    Ireland's" tax breaks" (or the absence of a tax present in many other socialist countries) are only illegal to the European Union... not Irish law. Just because one country decides to become less of a burden to its people by exacting less a percentage of their LIVES (tantamount to slavery) doesn't make them a villain. The EU needs to stuff it, and look to their poster child of government-run business success: Greece.
    Well, we're grown ups here in Europe: mind your business, we'll mind ours.
    BTW: how's the US deficit doing?
    groakester
  • Reply 8 of 12
    This always confused me.  It is my understanding that the "shelter" only applied to US overseas earning that when "returned" to the US have a heavy tax penalty.  This may eventually be resolved with regard to the US in 2017 with long needed tax reform.  However, the other European Union countries have received their tax from Apple operations with some minor exceptions that have been resolved either in court or other negotiations, e.g., Italy.  These, generally technical, errors are in the millions of dollars not billions.

    Someday, someone will explain this to me.  I suspect Cook is dead on regarding following the law [and perhaps its unintentional consequences] but the issue is fix the law, not blame Apple or other companies for exploiting the complex national and international tax codes, laws, and conventions.

    The particular case raised by the EU was not Apple doing something illegal, but rather Irish Law was illegal in EU commission opinion.  This obviously being contended by the Irish Government as wrong and over-reach by the EU into national law affairs.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,053member
    gprovida said:
    This always confused me.  It is my understanding that the "shelter" only applied to US overseas earning that when "returned" to the US have a heavy tax penalty.  This may eventually be resolved with regard to the US in 2017 with long needed tax reform.  However, the other European Union countries have received their tax from Apple operations with some minor exceptions....
    I suppose if you consider Germany, France, Italy, Poland and perhaps a few other European countries as minor exceptions then you are correct. 
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 10 of 12
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,637member
    kaipher said:
    Ireland's" tax breaks" (or the absence of a tax present in many other socialist countries) are only illegal to the European Union... not Irish law. Just because one country decides to become less of a burden to its people by exacting less a percentage of their LIVES (tantamount to slavery) doesn't make them a villain. The EU needs to stuff it, and look to their poster child of government-run business success: Greece.
    Please read the summary of the investigation provided by the EU. You will have a better idea of what is being claimed and why.

    I don't understand your comment on Irish law. EU directives are accommodated in the laws of its member states so if it is a law of the EU, it is also a law in the member state.

    If you read the summary of the investigation and take everything at face value, Apple's accounting practices can be seen as 'dodgy'.

    It isn't only the amount of tax paid, but the amounts Apple 'made available' for taxation.
    singularity
  • Reply 11 of 12
    kaipher said:
    Just because one country decides to become less of a burden to its people by exacting less a percentage of their LIVES (tantamount to slavery) doesn't make them a villain.
    So a country not collecting tax owed from a company , which means it's citizens have to pay more and being more of a burden to them is freeing them?
  • Reply 12 of 12
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,524member
    kaipher said:
    Just because one country decides to become less of a burden to its people by exacting less a percentage of their LIVES (tantamount to slavery) doesn't make them a villain.
    So a country not collecting tax owed from a company , which means it's citizens have to pay more and being more of a burden to them is freeing them?
    In addition, with reference to Ireland, how does "its people" in any way extend to the multinational corporate entity that is Apple?
    singularity
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