Earlier in the week, Apple was hit by a European Commission ruling to the tune of 13 billion euros in back taxes to Ireland. Apple immediately refuted any wrongdoing and has already said the Irish government will appeal. Apple CEO Tim Cook has continued this tirade today in the Irish press, with a newspaper column in the Independent and a rare radio interview (with RTE’s Paschal Sheehy).
Cook does not hold back on his language. He says the 0.005% effective tax rate bandied about by the Commission is false and “total political crap”. He says Apple actually paid $400 million to Ireland in the same year and believes it was the largest taxpayer in the country that year.
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Cook says Apple will continue expansion plans in Ireland as usual, including breaking ground on a new data center very soon, despite the overhanging tax quagmire. He believes that both Apple and Ireland will be successful in an appeal. He says “no one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together”. Cook says Apple stands by the normal Ireland tax rate of 12.5% and the company has never had a special deal not available to others.
“It has not been diminished one iota, we are completely committed to Ireland. We view the team there is world-class. They do such incredible work for Apple and we’re moving forward with the planned investments,” he said.
Ireland government officials are entrenched in an internal battle over whether it should fight against the EU in court or not. Some members of Ireland’s coalition government believe it should accept the 13 billion euros as a cash injection into public funding.
Cook continued to push for worldwide tax reformation but says any change should not happen retroactively, as the European Commission is attempting to act. The Irish government reconvenes discussions on Friday about their next move in the case. The outcome is unclear if Ireland decides not to appeal; will Apple then be fighting another battle?