Revenue chief: Tim Cook wrong to claim Apple had ‘special tax arrangement’

The head of Revenue has thrown Ireland into a fresh Apple row after insisting the tech giant’s chief executive Tim Cook was “wrong” to claim, while under oath in the US, a tax deal had been struck with this country.
Revenue chief: Tim Cook wrong to claim Apple had ‘special tax arrangement’

Revenue chairman Niall Cody specifically rejected the claim during a detailed Dáil meeting in which he also said Revenue will seek to retrieve €13bn in unpaid taxes from Apple from January — regardless of the fact the Government is appealing the EU ruling.

Speaking during the latest meeting of the Dáil’s public accounts committee (PAC), Mr Cody was challenged to clarify Revenue’s position on the crisis which is threatening the credibility of Ireland’s tax system.

During a high-profile 2013 US senate committee meeting on his company’s international tax situation, Mr Cook said under oath that a “special tax arrangement” had been struck between the firm and Ireland in the 1980s.

When pressed on the matter at the time, Mr Cook clarified under oath: “We negotiated a tax rate which meant that our tax was calculated at less than 2%.”

However, asked yesterday by Deputy David Cullinane about Mr Cook’s US senate comments that a deal had been struck, Mr Cody twice said the view was “wrong” and “absolutely not correct”.

Tim Cook
Tim Cook

“He is absolutely not correct... that was wrong, and I can’t repeat that in any other fashion,” Mr Cody said.

Mr Cullinane said the fact “the head of Revenue is saying Tim Cook gave false information, or incorrect information to a senate hearing is very, very, serious” and must be addressed.

However, despite PAC chair and Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming suggesting it may have been a misunderstanding, Mr Cody again said no deal ever existed with Apple.

The claim that Ireland offered Apple preferential corporation tax rates is central to a high-profile EU ruling earlier this year that this country provided the multi-national tech giant with illegal State aid and that the firm now owes Ireland €13bn.

Ireland has rejected the claim and is appealing the case alongside Apple.

Turning down the €13bn, the Government’s case is that accepting the money would lead to confirmation Ireland is a tax haven.

The issue is currently the subject of a separate review sought by Independent ministers in Government which is due to be completed in the coming weeks.

However, Mr Cody yesterday said regardless of the appeal, Revenue must retrieve the €13bn in funds and has been asked by the EU to provide, by January 2, an exact figure of how much is owed.

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