Ireland’s Minister for Finance Michael Noonan revealed back in November that the country plans to file an appeal to the European Court of Justice. Now, the Irish Department of Finance has announced that it will indeed appeal the European Union’s ruling that demands Apple pay $14 billion in taxes to Ireland. The senior executives for Apple disclosed that the tech company will also appeal this week.
According to Reuters, Apple said that EU regulators have ignored tax experts and corporate law. The tech giant alleged that EU “deliberately picked a method to maximize the penalty”. General Counsel Bruce Sewell and Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri disclosed that the company will lodge an appeal against EU’s ruling at Europe’s second highest court. Sewell claimed that Apple was “singled out because of its success”.
The US government was apparently not also happy with EU’s tax demand. In an unexpected turn of events, Sewell said that Apple is hopeful that US President-elect Donald Trump “will enact reforms to tackle tax avoidance which has led trillions of dollars in profits being held abroad”. Apple and most tech companies were not supportive of Trump during his campaign. In fact, the Silicon Valley were openly for Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump recently called for a tech summit weeks before his inauguration. Apple CEO Tim Cook was among the top tech executives who were present in the event. Now, it seems that Trump may even help Apple and other US corporations. According to Reuters, experts say that Trump's victory will bring them “closer to winning a big tax break on $2.4 trillion in foreign profits”.
As for Ireland, the Department of Finance maintained that it is legal for the country to impose far less tax on profits. According to the New York Times, Ireland will make its case by citing the unfairness of the EU competition authorities. They are accused of “exceeding their competence and authority and seeking to breach Ireland’s sovereignty in national tax affairs”.
It should be noted that Ireland has friendly tax policies. American tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook all have headquarters in the said country. It is not surprising that Ireland does not want to receive the $14.4 billion from Apple. Ireland might be more interested in keeping Apple.
According to The Verge, the company was discovered to have paid between 1 and 0.0005 percent in annual taxes on its European profits that covered 2003 to 2014. The European Commission’s stand is that Ireland, along with a number of other nations, actually offer tax provisions to certain companies. The Commission pointed out that this results in “an unfair and illegal system”.