Apple Turns Down Invite to EU Hearing on Tax Evasion Because it Could Be 'Detrimental' to Appeal Process

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Original poster
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As Apple continues to face a legal battle with the European Commission concerning the regulator's claim that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland and owes billions in back taxes, the latest development has seen the Cupertino company decline an invitation to testify before a special committee on the tax evasion claims (via Reuters).

According to a letter to the European Parliament shared on Twitter today by Parliament member Sven Giegold, Apple said it "will not be able to participate in a public hearing" on the topic of tax evasion.

The company's senior director for European government affairs, Claire Thwaites, explained that while the company appeals the Commission's decision alleging state aid from Ireland, "it is important to ensure public commentary does not prejudice those proceedings."

This is rotten! #Apple refuses to testify before the special committee on tax evasion of the European Parliament. No company stands above democracy! We should now withdraw Apple's lobby badges to access to the Parliament! This is the company's letter: pic.twitter.com/U2I4G6jNp9 - Sven Giegold (@sven_giegold) June 1, 2018
Because of this, Apple fears its presence at the June 21 EU hearing "could be detrimental" to its appeal, and "any potential appeals thereafter." Thwaites ended the letter by stating Apple would, however, be open to meeting privately with Committee members to address questions on its decision.
Since the appeal is ongoing and likely to be heard at the General Court in the near future we will not be able to participate in a public hearing on this topic as it could be detrimental to the proceedings at the Court, and any potential appeals thereafter.

I'd like to emphasize that we have the deepest respect for the Committee, it's members and the important work you are undertaking. We would be happy to meet privately with you or other Committee members and address any questions you may have.
Despite Apple's appeal, the company has started paying the 13 billion euros in back taxes to the Irish government this month. Like the wording in Thwaites' letter today, Apple has remained adamant that the company follows the law and pays "every cent of tax" it owes "in every country" it operates. In the wake of the legal battle, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the decision "total political crap" back in 2016, saying that "the decision is wrong, and it's not based on law or facts, it's based on politics. And I think it's very important that we stand up and say that very loudly."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple Turns Down Invite to EU Hearing on Tax Evasion Because it Could Be 'Detrimental' to Appeal Process
 

thebeans

macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2009
374
457
100% agree with Cook on this one. As long as they pay all taxes that are required, they should not be punished nor have to pay “back taxes”. Now if you want to say they are locating some of their business entities in countries with favorable tax policies to avoid paying as much as they would in some other locations, wel... of course they are. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Apple exists to make money. They are a business. For those that would criticize them for paying as little as they can and taking advantage of every deduction, I ask do you pay more than you are required to in taxes to your government? I highly doubt it. You take all deductions you are entitled to. Same with Apple.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68000
Sep 21, 2009
1,831
2,285
Tennessee
The posturing of politicians never ends and companies seeking to bend every rule possible never ends. There's nothing new under the sun but people keep getting surprised.
 

vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
4,530
5,598
European Commission concerning the regulator's claim that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland and owes billions in back taxes, the latest development has seen the Cupertino company decline an invitation to testify before a special committee on the tax evasion claims
I never really understood this story, and every time I try doing some research on it, I get bored really quickly.

The gist of the story is the Apple is being accused of tax evasion, but all the parties involved, Ireland and Apple, says that they are paying the appropriate taxes. Ireland gave Apple a special tax deal that works out great for both parties, but the European Commission says it isn't fair?

I am sure it is much more complicated than that, but it seems to me that if Ireland wants to give special tax considerations that would benefit both the tax payer and the people of Ireland, I don't see where the problem is.
[doublepost=1527860581][/doublepost]
I get bored really quickly.
This is the most interesting thing about the story:

tim-cook-emperor-lol.jpg
 

itsmilo

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2016
2,974
6,278
Europe
I never really understood this story, and every time I try doing some research on it, I get bored really quickly.

The gist of the story is the Apple is being accused of tax evasion, but all the parties involved, Ireland and Apple, says that they are paying the appropriate taxes. Ireland gave Apple a special tax deal that works out great for both parties, but the European Commission says it isn't fair?

I am sure it is much more complicated than that, but it seems to me that if Ireland wants to give special tax considerations that would benefit both the tax payer and the people of Ireland, I don't see where the problem is.
[doublepost=1527860581][/doublepost]
This is the most interesting thing about the story:

View attachment 763975
I don’t think a EU country is legally allowed to give any special tax deals if I am not mistaken so the issue would be with Ireland allowing it and Apple for taking it.
 

KidAKidB

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2014
280
892
Toronto
100% agree with Cook on this one. As long as they pay all taxes that are required, they should not be punished nor have to pay “back taxes”. Now if you want to say they are locating some of their business entities in countries with favorable tax policies to avoid paying as much as they would in some other locations, wel... of course they are. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Apple exists to make money. They are a business. For those that would criticize them for paying as little as they can and taking advantage of every deduction, I ask do you pay more than you are required to in taxes to your government? I highly doubt it. You take all deductions you are entitled to. Same with Apple.
Except that they didn't pay all taxes that were required, hence why they owe $13 billion.
 

Wanted797

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2011
709
1,043
Australia
So Sven thinks Apple is “above democracy” by declining to to testify. Sorry buddy but if they can “choose” not to attend than that is the epitome of democracy.

It make sense for Apple not to attend. If you’re in the midst of legal proceedings it’s best not to get involved in things to avoid anything being twisted and used against you.
 

KidAKidB

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2014
280
892
Toronto
I never really understood this story, and every time I try doing some research on it, I get bored really quickly.

The gist of the story is the Apple is being accused of tax evasion, but all the parties involved, Ireland and Apple, says that they are paying the appropriate taxes. Ireland gave Apple a special tax deal that works out great for both parties, but the European Commission says it isn't fair?

I am sure it is much more complicated than that, but it seems to me that if Ireland wants to give special tax considerations that would benefit both the tax payer and the people of Ireland, I don't see where the problem is.
[doublepost=1527860581][/doublepost]
This is the most interesting thing about the story:

View attachment 763975
Basically Ireland gave special tax deals to Apple in exchange for Apple opening more infrastructure in Ireland. The EU doesn't allow special deals and therefore forced Ireland to collect the unpaid taxes Apple should have owed.
 

Narcaz

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2013
416
547
I don’t think a EU country is legally allowed to give any special tax deals if I am not mistaken so the issue would be with Ireland allowing it and Apple for taking it.
They are allowed to do this, but there isn't a clear line between a special tax rate and an illegal state aid. The so called head office of Apple, which existed only on paper due to a weird irish special deal from 1991, made it possible to lower Apples tax rate in 2014 to 0.005% on global profits. It seems that the EU has a point when they call this a huge financial advantage. If this is an illegal state aid is now up to the court to the decide.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,568
4,713
100% agree with Cook on this one. As long as they pay all taxes that are required, they should not be punished nor have to pay “back taxes”. Now if you want to say they are locating some of their business entities in countries with favorable tax policies to avoid paying as much as they would in some other locations, wel... of course they are. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Apple exists to make money. They are a business. For those that would criticize them for paying as little as they can and taking advantage of every deduction, I ask do you pay more than you are required to in taxes to your government? I highly doubt it. You take all deductions you are entitled to. Same with Apple.
Yep, we all pay lawyers to dream up schemes to beat the tax man and try to get special deals with the local council. we also stand up and shout loud and clear that not only do we follow the letter of the law that we also follow the spirit of the law.
Corporations take each other out and they wine and dine law makers in a hope to get favourable deals or get them to turn a blind eye or alter policy to get the best deal they can.

Get a grip man.
 

centauratlas

macrumors 65816
Jan 29, 2003
1,186
1,736
Florida
Apple's hypocrisy is amazing on this issue and encryption. While bellyaching that everyone else needs to pay more taxes and that everyone else needs to be regulated more, they want to exempt themselves from their publicly stated wishes on those two issues. Don't get me wrong, Apple is right on encryption, but they are so inconsistent that I am not sure how they can take themselves seriously.

Of course authoritarians of all stripes seem to want more regulation for everyone else while exempting themselves from it.
 

macfacts

macrumors 68040
Oct 7, 2012
3,716
4,436
Cybertron
They are allowed to do this, but there isn't a clear line between a special tax rate and an illegal state aid. The so called head office of Apple, which existed only on paper due to a weird irish special deal from 1991, made it possible to lower Apples tax rate in 2014 to 0.005% on global profits. It seems that the EU has a point when they call this a huge financial advantage. If this is an illegal state aid is now up to the court to the decide.
If Ireland wants give Apple a sweet deal by charging 0.005%, then Ireland has to give that deal to ALL foreign companies. Ireland only gave that deal to Apple, so that is considered "state aid."

The line is clear.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,569
641
Cork, Ireland.
I never really understood this story, and every time I try doing some research on it, I get bored really quickly.

The gist of the story is the Apple is being accused of tax evasion, but all the parties involved, Ireland and Apple, says that they are paying the appropriate taxes. Ireland gave Apple a special tax deal that works out great for both parties, but the European Commission says it isn't fair?

I am sure it is much more complicated than that, but it seems to me that if Ireland wants to give special tax considerations that would benefit both the tax payer and the people of Ireland, I don't see where the problem is.
(All the below is "as I understand it", apologies for any inaccuracies) :

The judgement states Ireland gave Apple a special deal, which would amount to illegal state aid. Ireland's defence is that there was no deal; the tax environment that Apple availed of was open to everyone and so Ireland wasn't giving any competitive advantage to Apple. Tim Cook stated there was a deal, the then Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) stated there wasn't any.

The anti-ruling (Apple shouldn't pay Ireland) side:
- Apple is fighting this because they don't want to pay €13 billion, obviously

- Ireland is fighting it because it could hurt the nation's image as a low-tax, business friendly nation. Also, they worry about losing some tax law independence in the future.

- Many Irish people are against the ruling, for the reason above; plus we don't feel the €13 billion was ever really "ours" (see below, it was tax due to other European countries).

The pro-ruling (Apple should pay Ireland) side:
- The EU are (obviously) in favour of this. Some have accused Ireland of "tax piracy": because of Ireland's loose tax laws, revenue from other European countries could be routed through an "Irish" corporation, but tax is only paid on the revenue generated in Ireland (a tiny percentage). Apple gets a tax cut, Ireland gets the business & tax revenue, other European countries are getting (IMO) screwed.
Essentially, Ireland gave Apple a (100%) discount on other nations' tax.
This is in addition to Ireland having an exceptionally low corporate tax rate, so companies are moving their IP to Irish holding companies in order to pay the lowest tax rate possible.

- Many Irish people are also for the ruling, seeing the Government fight against a €13 billion windfall after it has also introduced new personal taxes on individuals struggling after the recession.
 

justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
10,494
5,922
I'm a rolling stone.
100% agree with Cook on this one. As long as they pay all taxes that are required, they should not be punished nor have to pay “back taxes”. Now if you want to say they are locating some of their business entities in countries with favorable tax policies to avoid paying as much as they would in some other locations, wel... of course they are. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Apple exists to make money. They are a business. For those that would criticize them for paying as little as they can and taking advantage of every deduction, I ask do you pay more than you are required to in taxes to your government? I highly doubt it. You take all deductions you are entitled to. Same with Apple.
Maybe you should do research first before commenting on this, the EU is completely right.
Apple will drag this on forever like Samsung does, eventually they will loose this.
 

wschutz

macrumors 6502
Jun 5, 2007
286
89
I don’t think a EU country is legally allowed to give any special tax deals if I am not mistaken so the issue would be with Ireland allowing it and Apple for taking it.
That's very correct, and that's why Apple has to pay what it didn't pay. That's all the EU asks. And of course, Apple wants to keep that money. Apple didn't put its main office in Ireland randomly :)
 

dampfnudel

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2010
3,180
1,418
Brooklyn, NY
I never really understood this story, and every time I try doing some research on it, I get bored really quickly.

The gist of the story is the Apple is being accused of tax evasion, but all the parties involved, Ireland and Apple, says that they are paying the appropriate taxes. Ireland gave Apple a special tax deal that works out great for both parties, but the European Commission says it isn't fair?

I am sure it is much more complicated than that, but it seems to me that if Ireland wants to give special tax considerations that would benefit both the tax payer and the people of Ireland, I don't see where the problem is.
[doublepost=1527860581][/doublepost]
This is the most interesting thing about the story:

View attachment 763975
From what I can tell, Ireland acted more unilaterally, like a country outside the EU while enjoying the benefits of the EU and extending those EU benefits to companies like Apple in exchange for benefits that were mostly contained to their island. If a practice like this was allowed to continue without even some legal challenge from Brussels, the days of the EU would surely be numbered, if it’s not already. Something that may be quasi-legal today may not be tomorrow.
 

tongxinshe

macrumors 6502a
Feb 24, 2008
826
374
If Ireland wants give Apple a sweet deal by charging 0.005%, then Ireland has to give that deal to ALL foreign companies. Ireland only gave that deal to Apple, so that is considered "state aid."

The line is clear.
Anyone has a VERY BASIC sense of math would know from the first glance that the 0.005% data is a result of pure typo somewhere along the investigation - statistics - reporting - publication path.
 

ssgbryan

macrumors 65816
Jul 18, 2002
1,304
1,246
I don’t think a EU country is legally allowed to give any special tax deals if I am not mistaken so the issue would be with Ireland allowing it and Apple for taking it.
From what I understand, the tax deal was set up before the EU streamlined it's tax laws. At that point, the loophole should have gone away, but it looks like both Ireland and Apple didn't realize that the tax break wasn't grandfathered.
 

surf2snow1

macrumors regular
Feb 26, 2008
163
43
If Ireland wants give Apple a sweet deal by charging 0.005%, then Ireland has to give that deal to ALL foreign companies. Ireland only gave that deal to Apple, so that is considered "state aid."

The line is clear.
No. That’s not what makes it state aid
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,511
2,153
Between the coasts
Apple isn’t what it used to be but there’s no more efficient way to waste money or cause destruction than by handing it over to a government
As if corporations spent every dollar wisely, never paid mediocre executives tens or hundreds of millions annually, never poured huge sums into projects that never got off the ground, never owned corporate jets that sat idle for days or weeks on end, never built lavish headquarters buildings with gourmet executive dining rooms, never spent fortunes on ineffective advertising, never acquire other businesses for much more than their true value (all while failing to adequately fund their pension plans)...

Capitalist theory is that businesses will do the right thing, spend wisely, etc., due to the profit motive. By definition, that means operating very conservatively. Meantime, the stock market wants to see the kinds of capital appreciation that comes from aggressive and risky business practices. Investors pay 50-100 times earnings (or more, if the business is still in the aggressive growth/constant-loss stage - which can go on for decades, as we see in the case of Amazon) in hopes there will be huge profits down the road. If there are not, the investment value plummets, and the last investors holding the stock take a bath. The bubble pops; a total waste of investment capital.

Now, some will say that this aggressive, wasteful behavior is part of healthy competition - the weak will fail, leaving the survivors as far stronger businesses than they would have been otherwise. And all of that waste and destruction is tax-deductible. Wasteful behavior is rewarded with a lower tax bill. "Gee, Harry, if we don't spend it, it's just going to the tax man anyway!"

When you scratch the surface, is it any less "wasteful and destructive" than "wasteful" government programs? People ignore the many benefits we get from government, from roads and bridges to universal education, police and fire protection, parks, clean air and water; and as much as people hate rules and regulations they don't like, society would crumble entirely without a body of laws. People can't "do the right thing" unless there is a system in place to determine what the right thing is.


My proposition is that neither business nor government are inherently superior or inferior to the other. Either can be wasteful, either can be efficient. It depends on management. So, if you have government of the people, by the people, and for the people, then it's up to the people to manage it efficiently.

Of course, if you want no government at all, then efficient management is the last thing you want. Gum up the works, under-fund as many programs as possible, do your best to ensure that government can't succeed. If it wasn't ours to destroy, one might even call that treasonous behavior.

However, there has yet to be an example of a case where, after self-government failed, another form of government didn't take its place. Only those other forms of government exist only for the benefit of those in charge, and will be far less interested in the well-being of the population they rule.
 
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