U.S. CEOs wrote a letter to European Union officials outlining their anger and desire to overturn the European Commission’s $14.5 billion ruling forcing Ireland to collect back taxes from Apple.
The European Commission’s investigation charged the iPhone maker with securing an illegal tax deal with Ireland wherein the company avoided nearly all corporate taxes for over a decade. This order is the largest sum ever charged to a company by the EU. (RELATED: EU Levies $14 Billion Tax On Apple, INSISTS Ireland Take The Money)
Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies, addressed the letter to the 28-member states that comprise the EU.
The CEOs explain that they invest millions of euros and employee millions in Europe. They warn this decision will hinder further American investment in Europe.
The precedent set by this ruling, “would increase uncertainty significantly with a consequent adverse effect on foreign investment in Europe, making this decision a grievous self-inflicted wound for the European Union (EU) and its citizens,” they wrote.
It is in the interest of all countries that uphold the rule of law that this decision “not be allowed to stand,” the executives explained. Their interest in this case is the rule of law and the creation of, “legal certainty necessary for businesses to commit to large scale, cross-border investments in research, plant and equipment, and other infrastructure.”
The association said that no business venture is a guaranteed success and are always fraught with uncertainty. Business should have, “complete confidence that sovereign countries are committed to honoring their laws and agreements and have the authority to do so. This is fundamental.”
This decision by the European Commission tells global business leaders that “EU member states do not control their tax affairs,” and furthermore raises, “questions as to whether member states have the capacity to enter into and honor their treaty commitments.”
Essentially, they wrote, the commission’s decision means, “a business can never have certainty even on its past tax liability unless or until the EC chooses to decide accordingly.” Businesses face uncertainty with the management of employees, customer relationships, and the changing costs of inputs and labor (to name a few). Adding uncertainty from government institutions makes it almost impossible to do business.
The executives wanted to make clear that, “America’s business leaders do not favor building walls between our countries.” The growth of business and trade between nations over the last century has “raised global living standards.” Driving home the point that America wishes to continue doing business in Europe, the leaders said, “together our nations are stronger.”
They concluded by saying American business, “looks forward to your support to work actively to overturn this EC decision and put an end to the use of state aid investigations that will hamper economic growth by undermining cross-border investment.”
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