Apple’s chief executive on Thursday stepped up the outrage over Europe’s demands that it pay a record $14.5 billion in unpaid taxes, calling the decision “maddening” and expressing confidence it would be overturned.
Timothy D. Cook, the Apple chief, stridently defended the company’s tax practices in Ireland, countering European officials’ ruling this week that the Irish government had provided illegal incentives, which allowed the technology giant to pay essentially nothing some years. In an interview with the Irish broadcaster RTE, Mr. Cook said the company paid its fair share in Ireland, the United States and elsewhere.
Mr. Cook also noted that Apple planned to send some of its enormous amount of cash overseas back to the United States next year, although he did not specify how much. Those international reserves have been particularly divisive as they remain out of the reach of American tax authorities.
“The finding is wrongheaded,” Mr. Cook told RTE. “It’s not true — there wasn’t a special deal between Ireland and Apple.”
He continued, “When you’re accused of doing something that is so foreign to your values, it brings out outrage in you.”
The Apple case has stirred up tensions, pitting the United States against Europe.
In announcing the tax decision on Tuesday, Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, said Apple’s sweetheart deals with the Irish government allowed the company to sidestep taxes by moving profits to a “head office” with “no employees, no premises, no real activities.” The company paid just 50 euros, or $56 at current exchange rates, in taxes for every million euros in profit in 2014, she said.
After Mr. Cook’s criticism, she denied any political motivation, saying the decision was based on longstanding laws that prohibit member states from giving selected companies favorable treatment. The case, she said, would stand up in court.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Mark Scott