In September, Geeknaut reported on the whopping tax bill the EU had levied on Apple, and though they appealed the decision at the time, Apple have just mounted a legal defence. The original case was brought to light when the EU decided that the Irish government had been giving Apple unfair tax breaks. Ireland, being a part of the EU, answers to the EU courts by law.
The bill amounts to $13.7bn, which must be paid in back taxes to the Irish government. Now, one would assume that the Irish government would be happy about receiving such a sum, and be eager to get their hands on it. However, Ireland is defending Apple and joining in the fight against the EU ruling. This is assumed to be because the benefits to the Republic from Apple’s (reduced) taxes, the jobs the company creates and investment it makes are worth more than the $13.7bn, and it would be wiser to keep Apple’s entire European operation in their country rather than risk the tech giant leaving their shores.
As a results, Apple and the Irish government have now rallied to make a legal defence of the terms of their agreement. The main line of defence is to claim that the amount is actually due in the United States, where Apple runs their entire operation, and not in the EU. This would mean the EU would have no legal power over the taxes and, it is assumed, the US would continue to deem it an EU matter, meaning that nothing would actually happen.
Though the legal specifics haven’t been released, there have been 14 different pleas made to the EU. The problem for Apple and the Irish government is that the EU will have to rule against itself and that process can be made agonisingly slowly. It can take up to two years for a verdict to be made, and even then it is unlikely that the judgement will be reversed. Apple hold liquid assets of a reported $100bn for such unexpected costs so will be more than able to swallow the costs without too much, if any, impact on share prices.