A bite out of Apple: iPhone-maker fighting $14 billion EU tax hit

SG apple eu tax bill vestager
Apple is challenging a $14 billion EU tax bill. (Images: PR photo, Pixabay)

Tech giant Apple Inc. is challenging a $14 billion tax bill assessed against it in 2016, calling the massive EU surcharge unfair and unlawful.

In the General Court — the second-highest court in Europe — Apple argued that the $14 billion tax “defies reality and common sense,” Reuters reported.

In 2016, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager cracked down on U.S. tech giants Apple, Facebook, and Google, saying they profited from doing business in the European Union but didn’t pay their fair share of taxes.

At the time, Vestager claimed the iPhone maker benefited from illegal tax supplements “due to two Irish tax rulings which artificially reduced its tax burden.”

The EU then accused Apple of having “paid essentially no tax on earnings in Europe.”

However, Apple attorney Daniel Beard told the EU General Court in Luxembourg today (Sept. 17) that “this public campaign ignores the taxes Apple pays all across the world.”

Beard continued: “Apple pays its taxes and understands the importance of doing so. In fact, we believe Apple is the largest taxpayer in the world.”


(Source: EuroNews)

Even Paul Gallagher — a lawyer for Ireland — sided with Apple, accusing EU regulators of “unjust criticism” of its national tax rulings. Notably, Ireland is also appealing the 2016 EU tax ruling.

It is a serious overreach for the Commission to override national law,” Gallagher argued.

Anyone who believes that the EU acts in the best interests of its 29 member nations need only look at this draconian overreach on its part to undermine Irish national law to see that that’s a joke.

At the end of the day, here’s the real issue: The European Union wants its share of the huge profits that American tech juggernauts Apple, Google, and Facebook are reaping by selling their products to Europeans (mainly through the Internet).

Ironically, these tech giants (which are mostly left-wing and anti-Trump) have urged President Trump to step in and pressure the EU to stop trying to tax them. Being the “America First” president that he is, Trump slammed the EU for going after American companies.

In fact, Trump has mocked EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager as Europe’s “tax lady” for only targeting U.S. tech companies.

If the EU is upset because they’re concerned that wealthy U.S. corporations are not paying their “fair share” of taxes, then perhaps it now understands President Trump’s perspective when he says deadbeat wealthy EU nations must pay their fair share of the NATO military defense budget.

In 2018, Trump told NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg: “We’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France. We’re protecting all these countries…And then these countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they’re paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia. So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia, but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia. I think that’s very inappropriate.”

Trump specifically called out Germany — which cowers in the face of Russia and demands that the U.S. antagonize Vladimir Putin — all while relying on Russia for its energy needs.

Russia is the country that NATO calls the “greatest threat” to its 28-member alliance. NATO is a military alliance whose purpose is to protect Europe from Russia. The United States can protect itself from Russia.

NATO spending
The EU wants to tax US tech companies but won’t pay their fair share of the NATO military budget, which is for their defense (Source: NATO)

As BizPac Review reported, Trump has repeatedly asked the 28 members of NATO to start paying their fair share for military spending, which is 2% of their respective GDPs.

The U.S. pays almost 4% of a much larger GDP, even though the U.S. provides most of the defense. In 2015, United States paid $650 billion, or 73%, of the total NATO defense budget.

The figures were equally lopsided in 2014 (see chart below) and continue to this day.

President Trump is not asking anyone to pay more than 2% of their GDP. He just wants deadbeat NATO members to pay their fair share.

nato military spending by country

While the mainstream media constantly mock Trump by saying he can be manipulated with flattery, think back to how the international community rewarded Barack Obama with a Nobel Peace Prize in October 2009 — just nine months after he took office.

Was that really because Obama had done anything to ensure world peace? Or was it simply a ploy to flatter him so he’ll continue to have the U.S. foot the bill for those who don’t want to meet their financial obligations?

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