Valentina Pop and Sam Schechner, reporting for The Wall Street Journal (News+):
Apple Inc. won a major battle with the European Union when the
bloc’s second-highest court on Wednesday sided with the U.S.
company over a €13 billion ($14.8 billion) tax bill that EU
antitrust officials had said the company owed to Ireland. The
decision was a rebuke to Margrethe Vestager, who is leading the
charge at the European Commission to rein in alleged abuses by big
tech companies including Apple, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and
Amazon.com Inc. […]
Apple and Ireland on Wednesday applauded the annulment of the tax
case. Ireland reiterated that it gave no special treatment to
Apple, and said that the company had paid taxes according to
“normal Irish taxation rules.”
Apple said that it supports international talks over how countries
should divide up taxation rights for multinational companies.
“This case was not about how much tax we pay, but where we are
required to pay it. We’re proud to be the largest taxpayer in the
world as we know the important role tax payments play in society,”
an Apple spokesman said. […]
It’s perfectly reasonable and perhaps correct to argue that Apple, along with all other titanic corporations today, should pay more in taxes. But Apple is not one of these companies that somehow makes a fortune yet pays no or little in taxes — they really are the biggest taxpayer in the world, and I really do think it’s true that they pay what they owe, worldwide. If you think they should pay more, your beef is with the law, not Apple’s compliance with them or their accounting practices.
“Sometimes, the Commissioner for Competition would be well-advised
to restrain her eagerness for catchy political headlines and
instead prepare her cases more thoroughly, so that they can hold
up in a court of law,” said German center-right MEP Markus Ferber,
who in 2016 backed the commission’s decision against Apple.
“High-profile decisions like these being overturned is quite the
disservice to the cause of tax justice,” he said.
I think that’s a harsh burn from a German.
★ Wednesday, 15 July 2020