Apple spurns EU tax hearing

Apple has turned down an invitation to appear at a hearing at the European Parliament, saying it does not want to prejudice its challenge to an EU order to pay up to €13bn back taxes to the government here.

A European Parliament committee is holding the hearing on tax evasion on June 21.

In a letter to the committee released by Greens lawmaker Sven Giegold on Twitter, Apple said it was waiting for Europe’s second-highest court to rule on its appeal.

“It is important to ensure public commentary does not prejudice those proceedings,” Claire Thwaites, Apple’s senior director of European government affairs, wrote in the letter.

“Since the appeal is ongoing and likely to be heard at the General Court in the near future we will not be able to participate in a public hearing on this topic as it could be detrimental to the proceedings at the Court and any potential appeals thereafter,” Ms Thwaites said.

Parliament should withdraw Apple’s lobby badges to the institution because of its refusal, Mr Giegold said.

The Government here has also appealed against the European Commission’s August 2016 tax order, saying the tax deal was in line with EU and Irish laws.

The EU competition enforcer said it hoped the entire amount of the disputed tax would be paid as soon as possible so it could pull its lawsuit launched against Ireland in October last year for the delayed recovery. Apple paid the first tranche last month.

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has slammed Apple’s refusal to appear before the European Parliament’s TAX3 committee.

“This hearing was aimed at examining the revelations regarding Apple contained in the Paradise Papers, which relate to the company’s corporate structure in Europe post-2014 and have nothing to do with the state aid case. By its response, Apple is basically saying it will refuse to engage with elected representatives in Europe until the appeal process is over, which may take several years. So much for its claims of improving its democratic accountability on tax matters,” he said.

“I will be pushing for the European Parliament to revoke the lobbying access badges to the European Parliament of all Apple representatives until it changes its approach towards engagement with democratically elected representatives,” Mr Carthy said.

Reuters and Irish Examiner staff

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