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  • 12.19.16

Apple says it was singled out by EU tax authorities because it was a “convenient target”—not because it had a 0.005% tax rate

The company will appeal the European Commission’s ruling that it must pay €13 billion ($13.8 billion) in back taxes, reports Reuters. In August, the EC ruled that its low Irish tax rate—0.005% in 2014—was illegal state aid. Announcing the appeal, Apple‘s general counsel Bruce Sewell argued:

“Apple is not an outlier in any sense that matters to the law. Apple is a convenient target because it generates lots of headlines.”

Sewell also suggested the August ruling had personal benefits to the Danish European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager because it allowed her “to become Dane of the year for 2016.” Sewell was referring to a title a Danish newspaper gave to Vestager last month. Besides the personal attacks against the EC and Vestager, Sewell did not appear to address the point that the EC brought forward its judgment because of Apple’s virtually infinitesimal tax rate.MG