Apple (again) declines invitation to appear before an Oireachtas committee

Apple has again rejected an invitation to attend an Oireachtas committee and answer questions over an alleged €13bn in unpaid taxes owed to Ireland, reports the Irish Examiner. Oireachtas is the legislature of Ireland.

Criticising Brussels, which ruled Apple owes the money, the company told the Oireachtas finance committee the EU had got it wrong and its attack on Irish sovereignty was “dangerous.” While the finance committee previously Apple CEO Tim Cook to appear before TDs and senators, it agreed to once more ask the company to come before members. The second refusal was received this week.

In a letter to the committee, Apple senior director for government, Claire Thwaites defended its tax arrangements, attacked the European Commission, and outlined its commitment to Ireland, notes the Irish Examiner

“Apple abides by the law and we pay all the taxes we owe wherever we do business,” she wrote. “We believe Apple is the largest corporate income taxpayer in Ireland and we never asked for nor ever received, any special deal on the taxes we pay. We believe Apple is subject to exactly the same laws as every other business in the country, and Irish Revenue has confirmed many times that they provided no special deal.”

The 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.

Ireland's cabinet has agreed to join Apple in appealing against a €13 billion (about $14.5 billion) back tax demand that the European Commission has levied.