Tim Cook responds to $14.5B EU tax bill with open letter, says decision will be reversed

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Comments

  • Reply 81 of 115

    fred1 said:
    Gymkhana said:
    Love how all the fanboys and multinational corporation supporters show up to defend tax cheating.  Apple uses "the commons" to conduct their trade, and to draw billions in profits.  They have the obligation to help fund the infrastructure and tax base that they use.  If you still say no, then let's force Apple to build their own electrical grids, water supplies, shipping defense military, etc.  Let Apple become their own legal world entity, a nation unto their own, and we'll see how successful they can be.  Dimwits, freeloaders, tax cheats.
    The problem is that it's not cheating.  It's exactly the same thing that Apple does in the US.  As Uncle Tim said in his testimony before Congress, Apple pays all of the taxes it's required to pay based on US tax laws.  In the case of Ireland, the government set things up for just this reason: give people a place to set up their businesses with very low taxes and they'll move their operations here and hire locals, even if a lot of this is on paper only.  
    If the eurocrats were doing what they should, they be after Ireland for having tax rates like this and not go after the companies that have followed the letter of the law and benefitted from it.  The point isn't whether what Ireland and Apple do is right or wrong, it's whether it's legal.  Is it legal for a country to set its corporate tax rate so low.  Of course it is!  Is it legal for a company to take advantage of this and save billions on taxes?  Of course it is.  
    It's like the US government going after the state of New Hampshire for not charging a sales tax or the state of Washington for not having a state income tax.  

    And all of this is absurd because the EU didn't lose one penny over this, Ireland did!  Ireland pays its money into the EU kitty whether or not its tax rate is 2% or 15% or 30%. Just as the US government doesn't lose money because Oregon has no sales tax.  Who knows how soon it'll be before there's an EU income tax and not just one for each country.
    That's fine, except Ireland is breaking the rules too.  They need to Brexit if they don't want to participate in the EU's tax system.  Apple chose a nation where they could avoid paying their fair share to "the commons".  That is the definition of a tax cheat, trying to get something for nothing.  There's no free lunch.  I say "fine", let Apple have no corporate taxes.  But let no nation spend one penny on military by defending shipping channels for Apple's products.  Let no nation spend one penny regulating airways for Apple's cargo shipments, those will have to find their own way there by some other means.  Unless of course Apple wants to create their own Air Traffic Control system, their own military, their own international court system, their own roadways.  They have every right to the freedoms that they seek from paying into the system.  They have the freedom to create their own infrastructure, and pay for it on their own.  Maybe Apple should get their own island as a base for all operations.  They will own everything on that island.  Then it's up to them to get their products to market, pay for their own defense, build their own court systems on their island, create their own treasury department, their own water filtration plants, electrical plants, roads.  That's the freedom Apple needs, and deserves.  Who in the f**k do people think pays for all those "commons" that Apple benefits from?  And they get it for 1 freaking per cent in taxes?  How f**king deluded can people be?
    rune66
  • Reply 82 of 115
    sensisensi Posts: 346member
    sog35 said:
    Are you joking? Starbucks/Fiat got slapped on the wrist. They were ordered to pay $20 million each. The $14 billion for Apple is the definition of unprecedented.
    Those are not penalties or fines but the value of their fraud/illegal State aid/illegal tax rebate that they have to reimburse, obviously Apple took more undue money home. France's EDF got something like $1.5 billion (1.4 billion euros) to reimburse last year: anything to whine about that while playing the victim card? Then Fiat got $34 million in back tax.

    Fiat, Starbucks:
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-5880_en.htm

    Apple:
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2923_en.htm
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 83 of 115
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    sensi said:
    thrang said:

    This is one of the reasons the Brexit vote was correct. Can you imagine some world order where unelected officials were deciding your taxes and laws. Sovereignty matters

    So many ignorant comments down there: the European Commission president is democratically elected by the democratically European parliament and the European commission commissioners chosen between the EC president and the EU heads of State before being approved by a democratic vote of the same EP (compare that to the undemocratic and actually unelected members of the UK upper parliament, those "Lords" for life...), then the laws of the European Union and its single market -there ensuing that there is no unfair competition among companies with e.g. unfair State aids or tax advantages- are those agreed upon by the democratically elected head of states/parliaments of the European Union members States. Do you need more information to correct your ignorant drivel?
    You've outlined precisely why democracies are a terrible political system, which is why the US isn't one. It's "gang warfare" and the majority rules, regardless of the effect on individuals.
  • Reply 84 of 115
    sensisensi Posts: 346member
    You've outlined precisely why democracies are a terrible political system
    Care to elaborate? How so?
  • Reply 85 of 115
    how about opening an Apple Store in Ireland what are they keeping all there money for.  
  • Reply 86 of 115
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,072member
    frac said:

    unilateral withdrawal would do nothing to anything. The fevered atmosphere in Europe regarding powerful international companies, means there is zero chance of TTIP being implemented anyway. Big corporations being granted the power to sue governments for lost profits if tax laws inhibit said companies retroactively? Sound familiar? 
    good. the sooner that agreement (made behind closed doors by corporations and corrupt government officials and, fast-track approved) dies, the better.

    if ttp were passed, hypothetically speaking, I wonder how many you would feel about nestlé corp suing California because we may happen to put a moratorium on how many gallons of water they take from the state (due, of course, to drought)?
  • Reply 87 of 115
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    Ok, Tim Cook argues that value is created in the US through research and development and not by sales.
    Thats not even a clever 'twist' on the issue at hand: income tax, thus sales.
    Apples tax evasion schemes that now turn out to be unlawful illustrate nicely that not all that is explicitly forbidden is allowed.
    Apple should have known better and should have acted better, certainly if it emits moralistic statements about other more convenient matters.
    What happend in reality is that taxes not payed by Apple are payed by EU citizens in the form of EU support for poor Ireland.
    Apple on the other hand burns of its money surplus (like lpg on a drilling island) showing huge disrespect for the people they - now illegally - got it from.
    rune66
  • Reply 88 of 115
    saltyzipsaltyzip Posts: 193member
    If Tim Cook fails to get this overturned, he should fall on his sword in my opinion
  • Reply 89 of 115
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    crowley said:
    If Apple repatriated the profit held in Ireland and paid US taxes on it then maybe there'd be some sympathy. As it is, this reeks of hypocrisy and entitlement.
    nonsense. they don't need to repatriate -- the money is profits made from goods produced overseas and sold overseas and taxed overseas. I have a friend who works in Europe and pays his taxes in Europe. why would he willingly ask to also be taxed in the US? he wouldn't. you wouldn't. Apple wouldn't. 
    It is not being taxed overseas. That's the entire point and why it's hypocritical. Apple are using a series of dodges to hoard profit in Ireland paying practically no tax on those profits. Their excuse, by way of his letter, is that the profits should be taxed in their home country; but they have set up a convoluted corporate network to avoid local taxes and refuse to repatriate those profits so that they can be taxed in their home country.

    Rank hypocrisy and transparent double talk from Tim. Very disappointing.
    singularitycropr
  • Reply 90 of 115
    blanEblanE Posts: 3member
    Dracarys said:
    sog35 said:
    adm1 said:
    Calling the move "unprecedented," Cook portrayed the Commission's decision as potentially dangerous, with "serious, wide-reaching implications." 

    EC previously ruled against Starbucks's tax deal in Holland and Fiat's tax deal in Luxembourg. Not unprecedented.

    "In Apple's case, nearly all of our research and development takes place in California, so the vast majority of our profits are taxed in the United States," he wrote. "European companies doing business in the U.S. are taxed according to the same principle. But the Commission is now calling to retroactively change those rules."

    There is no law that states you should only be taxed where your R&D offices are located. There ARE laws however that say you pay tax where you operate and sell products. On top of that, funnelling profits from those sales to other countries while not technically illegal, is morally questionable. Similar to those with offshore accounts (cayman islands, panama etc.) albeit nowhere near as shady.
    Are you joking? Starbucks/Fiat got slapped on the wrist. They were ordered to pay $20 million each. The $14 billion for Apple is the definition of unprecedented.

    It does not matter if the law is morally questionable in your opinion. It was the Irish tax law at that time. Apple did nothing wrong. They followed Irish tax law, and any other company operating in Ireland could have done the same. 

    Again the dispute isn't if Apple broke Irish tax law. They have not.
    The dispute is if Apple was given a DIFFERENT tax law they anyone else in Ireland.  And as far as I can tell they didn't. They were just better at tax planning than anyone else.
    It's all relative. $20 million to Starbucks was for how many years retroactively? And in comparison to the sheer size of Apple compared to Starbucks obviously the fee will be much less. 

    Prove that Apple wasn't given a different tax law, because from what I can tell paying 0.005% tax is well below what anyone else pays. 

    The diagram shown in this tweet is pretty accurate at describing what happened: 
    https://twitter.com/EU_Commission/status/770561714635104256


    What is Starbucks' net income? Approximately $3 billion per year. Apple's is about 40. So Apple's fine should be more appropriate. Perhaps $500 million, considering they were using essentially the same tax avoidance scheme. The EU are trying to make an example out of Apple because people love to hate on them.

  • Reply 91 of 115
    Never mind that "A company's profits should be taxed in the country where the value is created. Apple, Ireland and the United States all agree on this principle." The EU is run by faceless, un-elected "intelligent people" who really don't give a damn - all the see is a united states of europe dream. That's why Great Britain very wisely decided that they want back the power to make decisions in their own country. Apple would be wise to move their setup to GB.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 92 of 115
    ...and another thing : NOBODY IS USING TAX AVOIDANCE SHEMES. Stop using this wrong & misleading description. They employ accountants to LEGALLY REDUCE their tax bill. You and I do the same, only on a smaller scale.
    nolamacguySpamSandwich
  • Reply 93 of 115
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    JohnDee said:
    ...and another thing : NOBODY IS USING TAX AVOIDANCE SHEMES. Stop using this wrong & misleading description. They employ accountants to LEGALLY REDUCE their tax bill. You and I do the same, only on a smaller scale.
    Get out of town. Complex modelling of an international corporate structure with the sole purpose to take advantage of an overlooked tax mismatch between jurisdictions is a textbook tax avoidance.

    And anyone comparing this even slightly to an individual claiming a legitimate deduction has their head so far up Tim Cook's ass it's a wonder they can see to type.
    singularityknowitall
  • Reply 94 of 115
    fred1 said:
    One thing I have to correct because this drives me crazy: "The customer letter published on Apple's site, entitled..." It's not "entitled" it should say "titled" Entitled means something completely different (i.e. entitlement) and this type of mistake is made all the time.
    Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster don't agree with you.  Their first definition is the one you claim is wrong usage:

    "Full Definition of entitle

    entitled

    entitling

     \-ˈtīt-liŋ, -əl-iŋ\
    1. transitive verb
    2. 1:  to give a title to :  designate

    3. 2:  to furnish with proper grounds for seeking or claiming something <this ticket entitles the bearer to free admission>"

    From the Associated Press Style Guide (which most media outlets use as their style bible):

    Entitled: Use it to mean a right to do or have something. Do not use it to mean titled.
    RIGHT: She was entitled to the promotion.
    RIGHT: The book was titled "Gone with the Wind."

    Notice they have changed the original article to now say "titled"
  • Reply 95 of 115
    xixoxixo Posts: 449member
    frankie said:
    We are in a race to the bottom as the richest companies will just keep moving for no taxes, buying our politicians, and turning us all into slaves. 

    Bottom line, just pay your freaking taxes like the rest of us.  

    Corporations buying gov't and then hoarding the cash overseas needs to end right now for everyone.

    I love Apple but they have how much $180 BILLION stashed there?  Come the )@(*# on when is enough enough?
    You really think that corporations ultimately pay those taxes? Really?

    You might want to brush up on some basic Econ.
    "Corporations are people too" - Mitt Romney

    "basic Econ" used to dictate that savings were passed to the customer in the form of competitive lower prices. Definitely not happening here with Apple.

    Instead, tax savings are passed on to shareholders (at the expense of customers) in the form of share buybacks, which do nothing to benefit the consumer.

    The interests of the customer and the interests of the shareholder are diametrically opposed.

    "basic Econ" - is witchcraft, not science. Point: every physicist says 2 atoms hydrogen + 1 oxygen = water molecule, but not every 'economist' says 0.5% interest rates benefit the average consumer...


    knowitall
  • Reply 95 of 115
    Timmy, plain and simple, you are a greedy corporate shill.  jungmark said:
    latifbp said:
    adm1 said:
    Calling the move "unprecedented," Cook portrayed the Commission's decision as potentially dangerous, with "serious, wide-reaching implications." 

    EC previously ruled against Starbucks's tax deal in Holland and Fiat's tax deal in Luxembourg. Not unprecedented.

    "In Apple's case, nearly all of our research and development takes place in California, so the vast majority of our profits are taxed in the United States," he wrote. "European companies doing business in the U.S. are taxed according to the same principle. But the Commission is now calling to retroactively change those rules."

    There is no law that states you should only be taxed where your R&D offices are located. There ARE laws however that say you pay tax where you operate and sell products. On top of that, funnelling profits from those sales to other countries while not technically illegal, is morally questionable. Similar to those with offshore accounts (cayman islands, panama etc.) albeit nowhere near as shady.
    $14.5 billion is unprecedented as well as is the recent attempts to gouge U.S. companies for extra. In the U.S. European companies do not face a corporation tax, but simple sales and VAT. Maybe we'll retroactively apply a new law and start vouching your companies. BMW... want to keep selling your cars here now you gotta pay an extra 12.5% on your profits here even though you're based in Europe. Too bad, so sad. Same tax deal since 1980. Apple never asked for anything different. 
    Forget it's Apple for a second or even that it's retroactive. Do you agree in principle that corporations should pay fair tax on their profits? Apple is using Ireland as a tax haven to avoid paying tax in Europe and the US. If these corporations would pay tax in the US then these tax haven shell companies wouldn't exist but they aren't. If BMW/VW wasn't paying tax in Europe, I don't think anyone would object to the US collecting it so your example doesn't work
    What is "fair share"? Apple's effective tax rate in the US is 25%. 
    25% would be fine, but they don't even want to pay US taxes.  Apple is a tax cheat, period.  The rest of us all pay anywhere between 15-35% effective tax rate.  Why should Apple, since "corporations are people", escape paying their fair share?  Apple is a greedy, tax-evading, multi-national scammer, finding the cheapest wages anywhere around the world that they can.  Ireland loves them, even though they're not paying taxes, because it makes the politicians look good, by bringing in a "big corporation" and lowering the unemployment rate.  But once again, the government is being funded by the peoples' income taxes, not by Apple, which is paying something like <1% tax rate to Ireland.  That's the definition of a tax cheat.  Scumbags.  If not the EU, and if not China, someone needs to put fire to Apple's feet and make they pay their taxes.  And I would need proof to see that Apple actually pays 25% effective tax rate in the US.  No large corporations pay anywhere near that in the US, in spite of what right wingers and libertarians whine and cry about.
    knowitall
  • Reply 97 of 115
    xixo said:
    frankie said:
    We are in a race to the bottom as the richest companies will just keep moving for no taxes, buying our politicians, and turning us all into slaves. 

    Bottom line, just pay your freaking taxes like the rest of us.  

    Corporations buying gov't and then hoarding the cash overseas needs to end right now for everyone.

    I love Apple but they have how much $180 BILLION stashed there?  Come the )@(*# on when is enough enough?
    You really think that corporations ultimately pay those taxes? Really?

    You might want to brush up on some basic Econ.
    "Corporations are people too" - Mitt Romney

    "basic Econ" used to dictate that savings were passed to the customer in the form of competitive lower prices. Definitely not happening here with Apple.

    Instead, tax savings are passed on to shareholders (at the expense of customers) in the form of share buybacks, which do nothing to benefit the consumer.

    The interests of the customer and the interests of the shareholder are diametrically opposed.

    "basic Econ" - is witchcraft, not science. Point: every physicist says 2 atoms hydrogen + 1 oxygen = water molecule, but not every 'economist' says 0.5% interest rates benefit the average consumer...


    I'll repeat. You might want to brush up on some basic Econ. Your post is entirely clueless. 
    latifbp
  • Reply 98 of 115
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,289member
    At its root, the Commission's case is not about how much Apple pays in taxes. It is about which government collects the money.

    This. Summing it up nicely.
  • Reply 99 of 115
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    nht said:
    The simplest response would be for the US to state that Brussels appears to prefer to engage in economic warfare rather than economic cooperation then pull our TTIP negotiators to work on a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.  Given that TTIP is likely dead anyway a unilateral withdrawal sends a significant message without any long term repercussions.

    That would give the UK economy a big temporary boost and a richly deserved middle finger to Brussels for being total putzes.  They would have benefitted under TTIP more than we would have.
    Your only problem is that the US wants TTIP much more than Europe - it is already dead from our perspective - there is a huge popular push back against it.
    It's not a problem because it's already dead because of Brexit and gives Obama a way of saving face.  As near as I can tell Germany still wants to make a show of keeping it alive.

    Putting negotiators into London to work on a trade deal before Brexit is a significant indicator as to future US economic policy vis a vis the EU.
  • Reply 100 of 115
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    Gymkhana said:

    That's fine, except Ireland is breaking the rules too.  They need to Brexit if they don't want to participate in the EU's tax system.  Apple chose a nation where they could avoid paying their fair share to "the commons".  That is the definition of a tax cheat, trying to get something for nothing.  There's no free lunch.  I say "fine", let Apple have no corporate taxes.  But let no nation spend one penny on military by defending shipping channels for Apple's products.  Let no nation spend one penny regulating airways for Apple's cargo shipments, those will have to find their own way there by some other means.  Unless of course Apple wants to create their own Air Traffic Control system, their own military, their own international court system, their own roadways.  They have every right to the freedoms that they seek from paying into the system.  They have the freedom to create their own infrastructure, and pay for it on their own.  Maybe Apple should get their own island as a base for all operations.  They will own everything on that island.  Then it's up to them to get their products to market, pay for their own defense, build their own court systems on their island, create their own treasury department, their own water filtration plants, electrical plants, roads.  That's the freedom Apple needs, and deserves.  Who in the f**k do people think pays for all those "commons" that Apple benefits from?  And they get it for 1 freaking per cent in taxes?  How f**king deluded can people be?
    Sure, Apple can start paying for it's own defense when the EU starts paying for it's own defense.  How many NATO nations spend the 2% goal on military?  Or do the majority just depend on the USA for defense.

    The mighty German Bundeswher has 225 Leopard 2s.

    The Russians have 10,000 T-72s, 4,500 T-80s and 743 T-90s. 

    We have almost 6,000 M1s.


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