Tim Cook makes ‘surprise’ visit to Brussels to lobby EU about Apple tax deals

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a “surprise visit” to Brussels, Thursday, looking to lobby European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager as EU regulators close in on a final decision about the company's Irish tax deals, according to The Irish Times.

The Brussels meeting came on the same day as Taoiseach Enda Kenny described as “false and baseless” claims that Ireland is a tax haven for the company, the article adds. Apple and the European Commission both confirmed the talks took place but wouldn’t elaborate on what was discussed. It has been suggested that the state may eventually be forced to recoup billions of euros in unpaid taxes from Apple, according to The Irish Times.

The EU, Europe’s anti-trust and consumer investigation agency, has claimed that Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have attracted investment and jobs by helping big companies avoid tax in other countries, including EU members. The commission suspects Ireland was too lenient in rulings it gave to Apple and which helped the company shield tens of billions of dollars in profit from taxation. 

At 12.5%, Ireland’s corporate tax rate beats the U.S. rate of 35%. However, participating companies don’t pay that 12.5% under the double Irish structure.