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Ireland to appeal EU's $14 billion penalty against Apple

Irish officials filed a brief Monday claiming the E.U. misunderstood Ireland's tax code, saying Apple has not received special treatment and is meeting its legal tax burden there.

By Stephen Feller
Ireland to appeal EU's $14 billion penalty against Apple
Officials in Ireland filed a brief questioning the $14 million penalty the European Union issued Apple based on accusations it has received special treatment and bucked Irish tax law. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

BRUSSELS, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Four months after the European Union gave Apple a bill for nearly $14 million in unpaid taxes, Ireland has filed suit against the EU saying they have mistaken Irish tax law as it applies to the technology company.

Ireland filed a brief Monday claiming Apple has not received any special credit in during the last decade, saying the company has adhered to all laws and should not be subject to the fine.

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At issue are two Irish court decisions in 1991 and 2007 interpreting Irish law that says nonresident companies should not pay income tax on profit not generated in Ireland -- one of several tax codes that makes the country attractive for multi-national corporations looking to lower their tax bill.

Apple, which has yet to file a response to the EU fine but says it will, contends the European Commission, which is charged with levying some fines, is singling the company out unfairly because of its prominence.

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"The Commission has exceeded its powers and interfered with national tax sovereignty," the Irish Finance Ministry said in the filing.

The look at Apple's tax-paying habits from it's two offices based in Ireland started with the EU alleging the company paid a 0.005 percent tax level in Ireland in 2014, much lower than otherwise might be expected.

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Apple has two units based in Ireland -- Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe -- which maintain offices and have employees there, but because they are nonresident companies, Ireland only requires the company pay tax on revenue credited to business done in Ireland.

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In the case of many of Apple's products, whose patents have been developed outside Ireland, this means a lot of the income linked to the Ireland offices is not taxable there.

"Apple is not an outlier in any sense that matters to the law. Apple is a convenient target because it generates lots of headlines," said Bruce Sewell, the company's general counsel.

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