From the “in this world nothing can be said to be certain but…” department, the European Commission says Apple owes €13 billion in back taxes for its presence in Ireland over the last 25 years, since member countries are not supposed to give special tax deals to specific countries. Tim Cook says no such thing happened:
Over the years, we received guidance from Irish tax authorities on how to comply correctly with Irish tax law — the same kind of guidance available to any company doing business there. In Ireland and in every country where we operate, Apple follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe.
The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process. The opinion issued on August 30th alleges that Ireland gave Apple a special deal on our taxes. This claim has no basis in fact or in law. We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals. We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don’t owe them any more than we’ve already paid.
Cook says both Apple and Ireland will be appealing the decision.