Apple has been ordered to pay 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) plus interest in back taxes to Ireland, a New York Times report said today. The ruling from the European Union’s antitrust commission comes as part of a push to make sure countries aren’t providing excessive tax exemptions to corporations. The EU Competition Commission said that Apple paid a 0.005 percent corporate tax rate on its European profits in 2014 thanks to its agreements with Ireland.
Starbucks, Amazon, and Anheuser-Busch have also been swept up in the EU’s tax avoidance crackdown.
Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the ruling, which he says the company will appeal, on Tuesday.
“The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process,” Cook wrote in a message to customers. “The opinion issued on August 30th alleges that Ireland gave Apple a special deal on our taxes. This claim has no basis in fact or in law.”
Ireland is also expected to appeal the ruling.
United States officials have said that the European Union should not interfere in the way national governments handle taxes, as well as that countries should not issue tax penalties retroactively.
“That outcome is deeply troubling as it would effectively constitute a transfer of revenue to the E.U. from the U.S. government and its taxpayers,” Treasury official Robert B. Stack said in a report from the Treasury Department. The report also claimed that the European Commission’s handling of the possible tax avoidance issues were “inconsistent with international norms and undermines the international tax system.”
“At its root, the Commission’s case is not about how much Apple pays in taxes,” Cook wrote. “It is about which government collects the money.”
Apple has operated a factory in Cork, Ireland since 1980 and employs almost 6,000 people in Ireland.
Filed Under: Industry regulations