DUBLIN, Ireland, Sept. 2 (UPI) — Ireland’s cabinet has agreed to appeal against the European Commission’s ruling that tech giant Apple must pay back $14.5 billion in allegedly illegal tax benefits.
The cabinet held a 30-minute meeting before making the decision on Friday. A government spokesman said a motion to appeal the ruling will be presented to the Dail, the Irish parliament, on Wednesday. The Irish government previously said it “disagrees profoundly” with the decision.
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday said he was “very confident” the ruling would be overturned on appeal, calling the decision “maddening.”
“It is total political crap,” Cook told the Irish Independent. “They just picked a number from I don’t know where. In the year that the Commission says we paid that tax figure, we actually paid $400m. We believe that makes us the highest taxpayer in Ireland that year.”
The European Commission on Tuesday ruled Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple. The investigation was part of a European crackdown on corporate tax avoidance.
“The European Commission has concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple,” the agency said in a statement. “This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid.”
Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of the commission’s competition policies, said Apple paid an effective corporate tax rate of 1 percent on its European profits in 2003 and a 0.005 percent rate in 2014. The deal between Apple and Ireland meant the tech company could allocate European profits to Ireland and pay a minimal tax rate because it owned a small operation in return for Irish workers being hired.