Fruity tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple has come up with quite possibly the worst court defence we have ever seen.
When faced with charges of colluding with the Irish government to avoid paying Tax, Apple all but admitted it, however it sad that it should not be found guilty because it was just a “convenient target” which had been singled out because it was successful.
In other words, it is OK to commit a crime and do it in an obvious way.
If this applies it means that if you murder your wife for her money and make it so obvious that you are the crook, you can get away with it because it was easy for the cops to arrest you. Millions of butlers who were arrested for murder under the Agatha Christie act could appeal their sentence.
There is 14 billion euro in the kitty if Apple can pull off its tax dodge in the courts. Apple is claiming that EU regulators ignored its tax expert and corporate law and deliberately picked a method to maximize the penalty.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, a former Danish economy minister, said Apple’s Irish tax bill implied a tax rate of 0.005 percent in 2014 which really was taking the Nintendo even by the standards of corporate tax dodges.
Apple’s General Counsel Bruce Sewell claimed that the iPhone and iPad maker was singled out because of its success. Well yes, a criminal who dodges huge amounts of tax will be singled out by the coppers rather than those who don’t do anything – that is mostly how the legal system works.
“Apple is not an outlier in any sense that matters to the law. Apple is a convenient target because it generates lots of headlines. It allows the commissioner to become Dane of the year for 2016,” he said, referring to the title accorded by Danish newspaper Berlingske last month.
Apple claims that the Commission was not diligent in its investigation because it disregarded tax experts brought in by Irish authorities. These were authorities who told
Apple that what it was doing was perfectly legal and therefore their opinion carries more legal weight than common sense. After all if someone tells you that you only have to pay 0.005 percent tax when you know you have to pay 16 per cent they obviously have more legal weight than the people who have asked you to pay the full wack. But
Common sense is clearly out to lunch at Apple – missing presumed fed.
The Commission’s tax demand angered the U.S. government, which accused the EU of grabbing revenue intended for US coffers. Of course, it has not the courage to take on Apple in the courts itself, but it has the right to claim the money that it is not getting for itself.
Sewell added it was impossible for Apple to comply with the EU decision because it would mean Ireland violating its own past tax laws setting different rules for residents and non-resident companies.
The Irish government is also appealing against the European Commission’s tax demand. It believes it must protect a tax regime that has attracted many multinational employers to the country. It works on the basis that being a soft state does provide jobs, even if it does not support the training of those workers and the infrastructure.
Apple plans to tell the court that the Commission erred when it ruled that the head office of Irish-registered units Apple Sales International (ASI) and Apple Operations
Europe were only front companies which existed to move money around to avoid tax.
Sewell said the fact that an entity was a holding company with no employees on its books did not mean it was inactive and it could be actively managed by employees of its parent company.
“So when Tim Cook, who is the CEO of our company, makes decisions that impact ASI, the Commission says we don’t care because he is not an ASI employee, he is an Apple Inc employee. But to say that somehow Tim Cook can’t make decisions for ASI is a complete mis-statement of corporate law, it’s a misunderstanding of how corporations operate,” he said.