Tim Cook has lashed out at the European Commission, saying that an anti-US bias may have played a role in the EU executive’s decision to order Apple to pay Ireland 13 billion euros in back taxes.
In an interview for the newspaper Irish Independent published on Thursday, Apple chief executive Tim Cook described the EU Commission’s decision as “total political crap.”
Facing a back tax bill of 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) from the EU executive, Cook rejected an accusation by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager that Apple had paid just 0.005 percent tax in Ireland in 2014.
“They just picked a number from I don’t know where,” he said, adding that Apple pays 26 percent per year on its global profits. “No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together. Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable,” Cook was quoted as saying.
At the same time, Cook suspected that bias against multinationals from the United States may have been a factor in the decision to impose the bill.
“I think that Apple was targeted here, and I think that [anti-US sentiment] is one reason why we could have been targeted,” he said, adding that the EU was driven by “a desire to reallocate taxes that should be paid in the US to the EU.”
The Apple CEO reaffirmed his determination to fight to overturn the legislation together with the Irish government, and said the company remained committed to expanding its operations in the country despite the ruling.
“I feel like Ireland stuck with Apple when it wasn’t easy to stick with Apple and now we’re sticking with Ireland,” he said.
Profits to be repatriate to US
In a separate interview on Thursday with Irish state broadcaster RTE, Cook claimed that Apple had paid $800 million in taxes on profits in 2014.
“We paid 400 million to Ireland, we paid 400 to the US and we provisioned several billion dollars for the US for payment as soon as we repatriate it and right now I forecast that repatriation to occur next year,” Cook said.
Cook didn’t, however, specify exactly how much would be returned to Apple’s headquarter in Cupertino, Calif.
Washington has targeted a number of globally operating multinationals based in the US, criticizing their policy of transferring profits to low-tax offshore havens as tax avoidance.
According to some estimates, the Cupertino-Calif.-based company is currently holding more than $181 billion in accumulated profits offshore – more than any US company.
uhe/kd (Reuters, dpa)