EU’s Juncker says Apple tax ruling ‘based on facts’
Commission president says: ‘This is not a decision against the United States of America’
The EU ruling that Apple Inc must pay a huge tax bill to Ireland was clearly based on facts and existing rules and was not a decision aimed against the United States, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has insisted. Last week, European Union antitrust regulators ordered Apple to pay up to €13 billion in taxes to the Irish Government after ruling that a special scheme to route profits through Ireland was illegal state aid.
Mr Juncker said European Commission investigations on taxation had mainly targeted European companies.
The decision comes amidst a coordinated global initiative to crack down on tax evasion by multinational companies, spearheaded by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The ruling against Apple has pushed the issue into the limelight and raised the risk of significant push-back from the United States, analysts say, where some politicians are saying the result represents a European encroachment on the US potential tax base.
In separate comments on the sidelines of the G20 on Saturday, Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy and Administration, called Apple’s tax planning “outrageous” but, like Mr Juncker, said the decision was based on enforcing current regulations.
Mr Saint-Amans said he believed it would be unlikely to serve as a precedent for enforcement on future income earned by multinationals.
Mr Juncker’s remarks appeared designed to reassure US politicians, who have bickered for years over the treatment of off-shore income but now fear that the European Commission move would mean more profits earned by US corporations flowing into European tax coffers.
“This is not a decision against the United States of America,” said Mr Juncker.