Apple case highlights huge untaxed profits of corporate giants

"The European Commission has started an effort to rewrite Apple's history in Europe, discount Ireland's tax laws and upend the worldwide tax system in the act", the company said.

"As we work to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth, the G-20 must also remain mindful of the need to redouble our focus on making sure the benefits of growth are broadly shared by all our citizens", Lew said.

The European Commission ruled Tuesday that Apple must pay roughly 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in back taxes plus interest for what European authorities ruled were unpaid taxes accumulated over a decade that Apple owes Ireland. "And I think that (anti-U.S. sentiment) is one reason why we could have been targeted".

He said Apple paid income tax on products sold in an additional income taxes on gains in the U.S., and different European nations to those countries at a rate of 35%.

"The rulings endorsed a way to establish the taxable profits for two Irish incorporated companies of the Apple group (Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe), which did not correspond to economic reality: nearly all sales profits recorded by the two companies were internally attributed to a head office", the statement further said. She said this case creates uncertainty for many multinational companies across Europe.

He told Irish broadcaster RTE that Apple had not been given preferential tax breaks.

"I know what we are obliged to do and that is to take decisions that are independent, based on the treaty, the fact of the case and can be checked by the European courts", Vestager said. "We did it to make sure we have fair competition in Europe".

That is plausible - Apple is the world's largest company by market value and does employ about 6,000 workers in Ireland.

Poorer countries like Ireland routinely play tax games in order to attract investment from these massive corporations, because they believe the jobs and spin-off effects are worth it.

"It's total political crap", Cook said of the figure.

"It appears. they've invited folks to come forward and try and claim a piece of this settlement", said Jennifer McCloskey, director of government affairs at the Information Technology Industry Council, a business group representing more than 60 global companies, including Apple.

"Ireland and Apple have acted not only in the law, but did what was right".

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has insisted Dublin would appeal any adverse ruling ever since the European Union investigation began in 2014.

She also defended earlier statements on Apple's low tax rate.

However, an emergency cabinet meeting of Ireland's minority government on Wednesday failed to agree, with some ministers demanding a parliamentary vote on the issue.

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