Ireland doesn’t want the $14.5 billion in back taxes the European Union demands Apple pay, it just wants Apple’s business.
The European Commission charged the iPhone maker with securing an illegal tax deal with Ireland, wherein the company avoided nearly all corporate taxes for over a decade. The EU has state-aid rules that explicitly prohibit a company from getting an unfair or undue advantage (be it in tax relief or subsidies) over another firm or industry.
Ireland’s Minister of Finance Michael Noonan immediately retorted to the EU decision. Noonan, in a Tuesday press release, said that, “the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no State aid was provided,” and furthermore that the nation gave no “favourable tax treatment to Apple.”
Noonan is willing to go so far as to fight for the right to not collect the back taxes, in efforts to keep the business that Ireland has secured with Apple. Noonan drove home this point, saying, “Apple has been in Ireland since the 1980s and employs thousands of people in Cork.” He think it’s important to send the message that Ireland is a stable place for long-term investment.
The Irish Finance Minister also said that his willingness to fight the decision is, “necessary to defend the integrity of our tax system; to provide tax certainty to business; and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules into the sovereign Member State competence of taxation.”
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, wrote a letter to consumers Tuesday explaining the important relationship Apple has solidified over the past three decades. Cook wrote that when Apple first set up shop in Ireland in 1980, the community of Cork, Ireland, was “suffering from high unemployment and extremely low economic investment,” but that Apple saw “a community rich with talent.”
Over the years, Cook noted that the European Commission has attempted to rewrite history, Ireland’s tax laws, and upend the international tax system. He says that the EU’s Tuesday ruling has “no basis in fact or in law.” He ardently expressed that Apple will continue to be, “committed to Ireland and we plan to continue investing there, growing and serving our customers with the same level of passion and commitment.”
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