More reports on: World economy

US business group calls for overturning Apple tax ruling

17 September 2016

US businesses have warned European leaders they risked a ''grievous self-inflicted wound'' unless they overturned Brussels' demand that Apple pay the Irish government €13 billion (£11.4bn).

In an open letter to the leaders of the 28 EU countries, the Business Roundtable group came out in support of Apple in its tax dispute with the EC.

The EC found that the tax breaks the US tech giant was given between 1991 and 2015 amounted to unlawful state aid.

The group of US chief executives, who between them ran companies with $7 trillion of revenue and 16 million employees, said the decision ''must not be allowed to stand''.

''The precedent set by this decision, if upheld, would increase uncertainty significantly with a consequent adverse effect on foreign investment in Europe, making this decision a grievous self-inflicted wound for the European Union and its citizens.''

It said that non-EU countries would interpret the ruling – if left unchallenged – as a signal that companies could have their assets seized by states ''seeking extra revenue or seeking to punish a successful foreign competitor''.

''Commercial success is uncertain for any business endeavour but companies should have complete confidence that sovereign countries are committed to honouring their laws and have the authority to do so,'' the business chiefs wrote.

Meanwhile, former US secretary of labour, Robert Reich and currently chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies said in an opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle's online edition that though Washington lawmakers on both sides of the political divide had attacked big corporations for avoiding taxes by parking their profits overseas, but when the EU did something about it, rather than congratulate Europe for standing up to Apple, Washington was outraged.

He said, these were taxes US should have required Apple to pay to the US Treasury. But US lawmakers failed to stand up to the company as they had not been able to agree on how to close the loophole that had allowed ''Apple and many other global American corporations to avoid paying the corporate income taxes they owed.''

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