Tim Cook Calls Apple's Irish Tax Avoidance Accusations 'Total Political Crap'

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Apple CEO Tim Cook today spoke with Paschal Sheehy, the host of Irish radio show Morning Ireland, providing more commentary on the situation with the European Commission and its decision to make Apple pay 13 billion euros in back taxes from a period between 2003 and 2014.

Cook's stance falls in line with his open letter on the situation from earlier in the week, first providing backstory about Apple's history in Ireland and then remaining hopeful that the ruling will ultimately be overturned. His wording -- calling the ruling "political crap" -- also echoes an interview from late last year surrounding a similar tax evasion topic.


The radio show marks the first interview Cook has made since the European Commission's ruling earlier in the week. He calls the decision "wrongheaded," and specifically refers to the 0.005 percent tax rate claim as a "false number." In its ruling, the EC stated that Apple paid only a 0.005 percent tax on its European profits, but Cook affirmed that Apple is "subject to the statutory rate in Ireland of 12.5 percent," and that the company "paid $400m in taxes in 2014."

When asked directly how he feels when Apple is painted as gaining an "illegal" advantage over tax benefits, Cook mentioned his frustrations over the ruling, and compared it to the company's reaction to the FBI drama earlier in the year, saying Apple never chooses the "easy thing" over the "right thing." In this vein, responding to the question of whether Apple has anything to apologize for or if it did anything wrong, Cook said succinctly "no, we haven't done anything wrong."
"It's maddening, it's disappointing. It's clear that this comes from a political place and has no basis in fact or law. Unfortunately it's one of those things we have to work through. When you're accused of doing something that is so foreign to your values, it brings out an outrage in you and that's how we feel. Apple has always been about doing the right thing, never the easy thing.
Most of the rest of the interview emphasizes the "37-year-old marriage" between Apple and Ireland, a union that's "great for the community" of the country as it is for Apple and the people it employs there. Cook said that Apple will continue to focus on building a presence in the country, which includes being able to finally construct a huge data center in Galway County over the next 10-15 years.

Ultimately, Cook has "faith in humanity" and "faith in what is just and right will occur," retaining the positive outlook from his open letter that the ruling will be overturned. Regarding Apple's plan to appeal, alongside the Irish government, Cook said 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: Tim Cook Calls Apple's Irish Tax Avoidance Accusations 'Total Political Crap'
 
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LordVic

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2011
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I just find it funny that they purposely chose ireland because they knew they could manipulate their taxes there. And now that the loophole is closed and the EU wants the money Apple avoided by using those loopholes in Ireland, Apple screams foul.

listen, you may not like the decision Cook, but you had to know it was a possibility when you purposely chose a tax jurisdiction you knew to be questionable.
 

MRU

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Aug 23, 2005
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There is certainly a rouge political element from Europe on this. Under normal circumstances, the Irish government would have had to use a 'windfall' to pay off its European debt, however as an 'incentive' for the Irish Government to not appeal the ruling the EU have said that the Irish government can spend the money if it agrees to collect it any way it seems fit. If that is not political shenanigans from the EU, then what is ......
 

swagi

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Sep 6, 2007
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Ultimately, Cook has "faith in humanity" and "faith in what is just and right will occur," retaining the positive outlook from his open letter that the ruling will be overturned. Regarding Apple's plan to appeal, alongside the Irish government, Cook said 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."
What is just and right will occur?

O.K. CEO Cook, how about kicking your CFOs' backsides and get rid of all those shell companies you built?

How about repatriation of the income to the U.S. and tax it at today's rates?

Maybe then my faith into your humanity will be restored.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
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Tim Cook has chops, and he's absolutely, 100% right.

If the EU commission has a problem with alleged Ireland state aids, then it should fine Ireland, not Apple.

Obeying the current law should never lead to punishment.
You are still not getting it. The EU commission isn't fining anyone, especially not Ireland. And not Apple. They are saying that Ireland has charged Apple not enough tax, therefore Ireland should please send Apple a bill for 13 billion, and Apple should please pay that money to Ireland.

Get it? Ireland is not supposed to pay a fine, they are supposed to be given 13 billion.

And now that the loophole is closed and the EU wants the money Apple avoided ...
But the EU doesn't want any money. The EU wants Apple to pay money to Ireland, and Ireland doesn't want it.
 
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T'hain Esh Kelch

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Aug 5, 2001
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400 million € equals 12.5%? I have a hard time believing Apple only had a revenue of 3.2 billion € in the EU in all of 2014 Mr. Cook..

The only way Apple and Cook can save their faces, is to publish clear records of their finances, and then have them show something positive. And I somehow doubt they will do the former..
 

gnasher729

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Nov 25, 2005
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O.K. CEO Cook, how about kicking your CFOs' backsides and get rid of all those shell companies you built?
What shell companies has Apple built? None that I know about.

400 million € equals 12.5%? I have a hard time believing Apple only had a revenue of 3.2 billion € in the EU in all of 2014 Mr. Cook..
You don't pay corporate tax on revenue. You pay corporate tax on profits. If you paid corporate tax on revenue, all the supermarkets would be long history.
 

smokesletsgo

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2013
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If anything, successful, world-changing companies who already provide society with more than anyone who are just 'paying taxes', should get better deals. They need that money to invest and push the world even further. But some, of course, think that everything must be 'distributed equally', regardless of how useful you are.
 
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twietee

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Jan 24, 2012
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What shell companies has Apple built? None that I know about.
"A.O.I., short for Apple Operations International. And this version of Apple is much harder to pin down; it’s something like a quantum corporation whose very nature depends on who is observing it. A.O.I. is, in one sense, huge, among the largest companies that ever existed, with more than two hundred billion dollars in assets. It is also as small as a company can be, with no physical address and no employees. Phillip Bullock, the head of tax operations for Apple, told a U.S. Senate committee in 2013 that “A.O.I. is incorporated in Ireland; thus, under U.S. law it is not tax resident in the U.S.” That seemed clear enough until his next sentence. “A.O.I. is also not tax resident in Ireland because it does not meet the fact-specific residency requirements of Irish law.” It’s Irish, according to American law; not Irish, according to the Irish. A.O.I., in fact, does not legally exist anywhere, even as it takes in much of the profits from Apple sales outside of the United States."

source
 
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