“The European Commission rejected criticism from one of its own former antitrust chiefs on Friday of its massive tax demand on Apple and pointedly noted that she now works for another U.S. tech company, Uber,” Foo Yun Chee reports for Reuters.
“Neelie Kroes, who was EU competition commissioner for five years until 2010 and ran digital policy until two years ago, said this week’s ruling by current antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager that the iPhone maker must pay 13 billion euros of back taxes that Ireland had waived was an incorrect use of EU law,” Chee reports. “‘EU member states have a sovereign right to determine their own tax laws. State aid cannot be used to rewrite those rules,’ Kroes wrote in The Guardian. ‘However, the current state aid investigations into tax rulings appear to do exactly that.'”
Read more in the full article here.
“State aid is not a cure for all ills. Today, there is a broad sentiment that multinational companies do not pay enough taxes, that they are using mismatches between national tax laws to lower their tax burden,” Neelie Kroes writes for The Guardian. “State aid is not suited to deal with such mismatches. It is a tool to address instances where a member state has made an exception to its own rules and given a specific company an advantage. To know whether that is the case, one has to understand how corporate taxation works.”
“EU member states have a sovereign right to determine their own tax laws,” Kroes writes. “State aid cannot be used to rewrite those rules.”
“But you cannot change the rules of the game through ad hoc state aid enforcement, and then seek retroactive recovery for unpaid taxes,” Kroes writes. “Doing so would be fundamentally unfair and would harm competition, growth and tax income in Europe. And it raises serious questions about legal certainty and the rule of law.”
“It is a fundamental principle of tax law that changes will not apply retroactively,” Kroes writes. “Companies (as individuals) should know what their fiscal obligations are up front and should be able to plan with them. When tax rules change, they do so for the future only and there are strict limits to the re-opening of tax assessments for the past.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Now, to be fair, this is only because poor Margrethe is an idiot politician. Go back to Denmark, honey, you’re in over your head – unless your agenda is to destroy the EU from the inside out, in which case: Carry on, you’re doing a hell of a job!
Anyone who decides to set up a business in a European Union member country today is insane. — MacDailyNews, August 30, 2016
There’s nothing like the world’s preeminent superpower playing hardball with some quasi-governmental political confederation that’s already been hit with one very significant defection and the existential threat of widespread desertions hanging over its collective head.
If the EU demands so-called “back taxes” from Apple, it’ll be based invisible legal grounds since the company simply followed the law when paying their taxes.
Irish government to fight EU on Apple tax – September 2, 2016
Treasury accuses EU of trying to steal U.S. tax revenues with Apple decision – September 1, 2016
Irish residents opposed to EU’s tax demand of Apple – September 1, 2016
Apple Inc. pushes back against EU tax grab – September 1, 2016
Apple may repatriate billions of dollars next year after new U.S. President takes office – September 1, 2016
U.S. tax code allows for dramatic retaliation against EU overreach in Apple case – September 1, 2016
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