Grand Court nixes U.S. government’s efforts to back Apple in ongoing taxes brouhaha

The European Union’s Grand Court has rejected an U.S. government request to intervene in Apple’s fight against an EU order on back taxes. The Cupertino, California-based company is appealing an order to pay approximately $15.3 billion in back taxes to Ireland due to illegal tax breaks. 

The Obama administration disagreed with the move, saying the EU was trying to take money the U.S. should receive. A Grand Court judge says the U.S. failed to prove it had a “direct interest in the result of the case.”  

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The European Commission, Europe’s anti-trust and consumer investigation agency, 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.

Tim Cook has branded the European Commission ruling “total political crap.” Apple’s CEO also suggested the "retroactive" tax bill was an attempt by the EU to grab taxes owed to the U.S. treasury and harmonize tax rates across the 28-nation bloc.