'EU Tax Ruling Is Political Crap', Says Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple is the victim of anti-U.S. bias and the European Union's 13 billion-euro back tax ruling is "total political crap", according to the iPhone maker's chief executive, Tim Cook. "No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together".

"We provisioned several billion dollars for the USA for payment as soon as we repatriate it, and right now I would forecast that repatriation to occur next year", Mr. Cook said in the interview.

But Cook said he was "very confident" the ruling would be overturned on appeal, adding that he thought the commission is trying to harmonise tax rates across the EU.

"I think that Apple was targeted here", he said.

"We have concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to 13 billion euros to Apple. There should be a public discussion about it". I have no idea where the number came from. "In that year, we paid $400m to Ireland, and that amount of money was based on the statutory Irish income tax rate of 12.5%". "Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable".

Speaking before a meeting of the Irish cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the ruling, Prime Minister Enda Kenny told reporters: "Obviously this is unprecedented so we're going to have a good discussion about it this morning".

In a separate interview on Thursday with Irish state broadcaster RTE, Cook claimed that Apple had paid $800 million in taxes on profits in 2014.

Apple was slapped with a record $14.5 billion tax penalty by the European Commission on Tuesday for its agreements with Ireland, and the country is now deliberating whether or not it will appeal against the ruling.

Apple's global reserves have been particularly divisive as they remain out of reach of American tax authorities. Two subsidiaries of Apple that is based in Ireland called Apple Operations Europe and Apple Sales International paid over most of their profits to a certain head office. Most importantly, the commission completely ignores the fact that the vast majority of those profits was subject to USA taxation.

Cook continued to push for worldwide tax reformation but says any change should not happen retroactively, as the European Commission is attempting to act.

In the U.S. the decision has sent shockwaves through Congress with lawmakers said it could reduce the USA tax bill because companies would be eligible for foreign tax credits.

The US tech giant has been ordered to pay Ireland up to €19bn in back taxes and interest charges in a landmark decision by EU's financial watchdog.

Apple has said it plans to appeal against the decision.

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