- IPhone maker says it doesn't get unfair state subsidy on taxes
- EU Parliament panel also quizzes Ikea, McDonald's and Google
Apple Inc., facing a European Union probe into its fiscal affairs in Ireland, told a panel of EU lawmakers Tuesday it pays all taxes due in the nation and doesn’t get an unfair advantage compared with other companies there.
Cathy Kearney, a vice-president of the iPhone maker’s European operations in Cork, Ireland, said the company isn’t getting unfair state aid but will remain “committed to Ireland” whatever the outcome of the EU case.
“We feel that we’ve paid every cent of tax that is due in Ireland,” Kearney said at the European Parliament in Brussels. “We don’t feel that there has been state aid involved and I suppose we look forward to that outcome happening at the end of the day and being vindicated in that way. I would say that the Irish government also agrees with that view.”
Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland and Amazon.com Inc.’s arrangements in Luxembourg are slated to be next in the firing line as the European Commission takes aim at so-called tax rulings it says may be unfair subsidies. The EU authority has already ordered the Netherlands and Luxembourg to recover as much as 30 million euros ($33.3 million) in back taxes from Starbucks Corp. and a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV unit.
While the EU’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager refuses to be drawn into speculation, analysts say that in the Apple case, repayments could potentially dwarf those amounts. Vestager is also probing McDonald’s Corp.’s affairs in Luxembourg and signaled she’s willing to add Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s 130 million-pound ($184 million) tax deal with the U.K. to her growing list of investigations.
While Vestager is in charge of the EU probes, a separate panel of EU parliament lawmakers is quizzing companies about their tax-reducing techniques.
At a hearing on Tuesday, representatives from Google, Inter Ikea Group and McDonald’s Corp. all insisted that their companies’ tax affairs are in line with international rules, echoing comments by other firms targeted by EU probes.
“In terms of this point of whether we are paying a tiny fraction of what other companies are paying, that’s absolutely incorrect,” said Adam Cohen, Google’s head of economic affairs in Europe. “We are absolutely in line with what other multinational companies are paying.”