London: Defending the European Commission (EC) tax ruling against Apple, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has termed the decision as “landmark” that was taken “without discrimination and without bias”.
In his first public statement after the European Union (EU) ruled that Ireland must demand 13 billion euros in taxes from Apple, Juncker said: “National authorities cannot give tax benefits to some companies and not to others. This is the level playing field that the commission is always working to defend. We apply these rules without discrimination and without bias.”
According to an Irish Times report on Monday, Juncker added at the sidelines of the G20 summit in China the Apple ruling was the result of “intensive work which has been going on for many years.”
EU officials and members of the Ireland government are set to meet this week over the Apple ruling.
Earlier, Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed the tax evasion allegations as “total political crap”.
In an interview to Irish Independent newspaper, Cook said Ireland is being “picked on”.
“I think we’ll work very closely together, as we have the same motivation. No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together. Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable,” Cook told the newspaper.
Cook also rejected the assertion by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager that Apple paid only 0.005 per cent tax in Ireland in 2014.
In a setback to Apple just before the much-awaited launch of its iPhone 7, the EU had announced that Ireland must demand 13 billion euros in taxes from company.
“We have concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to 13 billion euros to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Ireland must now recover the illegal aid,” an EU statement read.
Following an in-depth state aid investigation launched in June 2014, the EC concluded that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple have substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991.