Apple accused the European Commission of failing to understand its business Wednesday. It came as its appeal against a tax ruling by EU’s executive body entered a second day.
EU Commission Telling ‘A Fairy Tale’, Says Apple Lawyer
The EU Commission wants Apple to pay Ireland $14.4 billion in what it claims are unpaid taxes. Both Apple and Ireland dispute this. Ireland granted two Apple businesses, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, tax rulings that the Commission said meant it paid a tax rate as low as 0.005% in 2014.
Apple insisted that its Irish business is less significant than indicated by the Commission. Its lawyer, Daniel Beard, said:
The Commission went out of its way to tell a fairy story about supposed benefits to employment. It has no evidence, it is wrong. There was no sense of any special deal. Ireland properly and correctly taxed the Irish branches. There was no derogation from the normal rules.
He noted that CEO Tim Cook told a 2013 U.S Senate hearing that “there were decisions taken in Ireland.” However, he said that these were “not strategic decisions.”
‘Ireland’s Reputation Criticised’
Meanwhile, Ireland’s lawyer Paul Gallagher said the Commission had not been able to demonstrate “one company which has been treated less favourably than Apple. This is Ireland’s reputation which has been so severely criticised.”
The Commission had previously declined Apple’s invitation to visit its operations in Cork, Ireland. “What would a site visit accomplish?” lawyer Paul-John Loewenthal asked.
This current case is being heard by EU’s second highest court, known as the European General Court. Consequently, whoever loses might appeal to the highest court, European Court of Justice, meaning the case could go on for years.