U.S. tax code allows for dramatic retaliation against EU overreach in Apple case

“U.S. tax law gives the Obama administration power to double tax rates for European companies should it choose to dramatically escalate a dispute with the European Union over Apple’s tax bill,” Jason Lange reports for Reuters. “Section 891 of the U.S. tax code, passed in 1934 but never used, allows the president to double tax rates for citizens and corporations of any country the administration considered was discriminating against U.S. companies.”

“The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday declined to comment on whether Washington was considering such drastic measures, which Democratic and Republican lawmakers have proposed putting on the table due to what they see as overreach by the European Commission in a tax grab targeting American companies,” Lange reports. “Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the European Commission action appeared highly focused on U.S. companies but did not mention measures the United States might take. A Treasury spokesperson on Tuesday said the department would work with the EU to prevent erosion of tax bases.”

Lange reports, “The Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Anne Wall, told lawmakers in a letter in March the department was reviewing the provision.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Won’t happen.

Apple CEO Tim Cook on EU tax demand: ‘No one did anything wrong here and Ireland is being picked on… It is total political crap’ – September 1, 2016
U.S. Treasury: The European Commission’s retroactive tax demands on Apple are unfair – August 30, 2016
EU demands Apple pay massive $14.5 billion in taxes plus interest – August 30, 2016
U.S. government warns EU: Do not hit Apple with a massive back tax bill – or else – August 25, 2016


  1. Apple CEO Sees Cash Repatriation in 2017
    Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook said the company may repatriate at least some of the billions of dollars of cash it holds offshore as early as next year, in comments made in the wake of a 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) tax clawback decision by European authorities. It has long provisioned for an eventual repatriation of some of the funds. Cook told The Washington Post in August that the company won’t bring the money back “until there’s a fair rate” but said he was optimistic of corporate tax changes next year. On Thursday, Cook, in an interview with Irish state broadcaster RTE, appeared to go a step further, saying Apple could start to move some of the profits it has earned from its international operations to the U.S. next year.

    1. What he didn’t say but meant: he will only repatriate so much that he can write off what he pays in Europe as a tax deduction. That way the US tax payer again pays for big corporations.

      Sorry, but when will people finally realize that a 0.005% tax rate for big corporations is bollocks.

      1. @TheTruth: As I and several other people pointed out to you yesterday, the “0.005%” issue is bollocks. It’s just pure propaganda put out by the EU people. Apple pays far more in tax than that – just not to Ireland.
        You’re trying to conflate two separate concepts – ideology with reality. The reality is that companies are charged with making as much money and paying as little taxes as possible. That happens worldwide.
        Your ideological point about rich getting richer, etc. is a good one, and one that many Americans agree with. The “only good government is no government” people on this board also live in an ideological world far removed from reality, but at the opposite end of the spectrum where the rich can exercise their power completely unfettered by government regulation.
        Reality is somewhere in the middle of your two opposing ideologies. At the moment it may not be in the best point in the middle, but that’s just a matter of fine tuning.

        1. Yes many here confuse their corporate tax ideal and concepts or what constitutes “right & wrong” with reality. The truth IS somewhere in between as is the idealistic confused crowd’s inevitably crushed & crestfallen realization as a result. While it’ll be no surprise to the rest of us more government/business enlightened.

      2. The Truth, is the proliferation (cancer) of the “ENTITLEMENT” mentality. Global unelected money Mongers are spreading the cancer. The Truth is EU EXTORTION of the most valuable company on earth. Period, Dot, End of Story. There are no gray areas here, other than your clouded gray matter between your ears. Go back to your mothers basement you entitlement FCK. Have a nice Labor Day weekend 🖕🏻

      3. “bollocks” kind of gives you away. 0.0/10 in the credibility department. What you actually know about the admittedly outdated and unfair corporate tax code in the USA would fit on the head of a pin if you printed it out using a 12 point font. Regarding the imaginary tax rate you so gleefully trumpet as support for your position, it’s imaginary and not supported by the existing tax laws Apple was subject to. The EU’s action is clearly political in nature and given its focus on USA multi-nationals, seems to amount to penis envy.

        Think as you wish, but remember there are three sides to every story – the EU’s, Apple’s and the truth.

    2. Ultimately the good out of all this is maybe Congress will get off it’s lazy do-nothing ass and quickly make repatriation tax rate changes in line with the rest of the world at long last. Make it fair and companies will comply. Make it unfair and companies will continue to use any out of country method necessary to minimize their tax liability, to the detriment of the home country. CEO’s, assuming they want to keep their jobs, have no other choice.

      1. Fair tax rate, pay your fair share are subjective, variable and whimsical. Who’s definition of “fair” is correct? How about taxation based on the word “equal?” The current mindset, esp in the EU and growing in the US = tax is confiscatory, based on punishment.
        “You have a lot, I need/deserve what you have.” That’s surely not fair, nor equal.

        1. Yah gotta start somewhere. For some people any tax is draconian if they aren’t making much. Same for struggling companies. You’re going aganst the entitled Socialist perspective. At some point though a consensus has to be made on what’s fair.

    1. botty is our local globalist trash and obscenity specialist. Just ask him. He knows absolutely everything and has an applicable quote for every occasion…if you ascribe to his worldview and go more by gut than by facts and reason.

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