US Treasury Meets EU Antitrust Chief Ahead of Apple Tax Ruling
Bloomberg reports that US Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew is scheduled to meet with European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager. The meeting will take place just ahead of her ruling on Apple’s Irish tax affairs.
Vestager’s team has already delivered two draft decisions, according to two Bloomberg sources familiar with the matter. The decisions set possible scenarios for how much tax Apple owed in Ireland. Lew has allegedly contacted the EU antitrust chief “urging her to avoid ordering any collection of back taxes from Apple, according to one of the people.”
As Apple’s, Amazon’s, and MacDonald’s tax practices entered the spotlight of the EU watchdog, Lew complained to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, saying that US companies are “unfair targets of state-aid investigations”.
On the other hand, Vestager denied any allegations that she’s deliberately targeting US firms. She said that the watchdog’s responsibility is to “police fair competition” within the European Union and reduce undue advantages and “simply restore equal treatment”, Vestager added.
The EU watchdog opened a probe into Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland back in 2014, and the preliminary findings were that the Irish government gave the iPhone maker illegal state support. Now, the second stage of the investigation is nearing its end, as Verstager will issue a ruling, possibly in July (but that may be delayed due to Brexit, some say), on how much Apple owes in back taxes. Apple’s position, on the other hand, is that it has paid every cent of tax that is due in Ireland.”