Apple CEO Tim Cook
Photo by Michel Porro/Getty Images
By Jeff John Roberts
August 30, 2016

The European Commission made good on a long-rumored threat on Tuesday by demanding that Apple cough up $14.5 billion in taxes it allegedly avoided through various corporate gimmicks.

Needless to say, Apple is not happy, and CEO Tim Cook quickly denounced the European Commission for deciding to “upend the international tax system.” U.S. politicians are jumping in to say they have Apple’s back while the Europeans are so far sticking to their guns.

You can read a full-range of reactions below but, if you’re unfamiliar with the EU’s decision, be sure to read David Meyer’s excellent Q&A and Geoffrey Smith’s analysis on why Ireland — a key lynchpin in Apple’s tax strategy — oddly, does not want to receive the tax the EU says it is owed.

On this side of the water, the White House quickly expressed “concern” over the ruling, warning it could cost tax payers. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wi) was more direct, calling the EU move “awful” while some Americans expressed anger.

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Meanwhile, the editor of Business Insider was quick to note there is something almost absurd about the dysfunction of the global corporate tax system:

An editorial at Bloomberg View chose to blame both sides, saying the U.S. needs to reform its corporate tax system, while also describing the European Union’s retroactive remedy as unjust. The editorial noted:

Neither side is entirely in the wrong. Mainly, though, the squabble underlines a larger point that should have been obvious already. Taxing multinationals fairly and efficiently requires both an entirely new approach in the U.S. and much closer cooperation among governments.

Those in Ireland, meanwhile, questioned why their own government was trying to turn away what seemed to many to be a windfall (once again, see Geoff Smith’s explanation for the answer):

 

Finally, some people said that Apple should wash its hands of both the EU and the United States, and set up its corporate tax havens further afield. Some of these suggestions appeared to be tongue-in-cheek but, in the case of the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, the offer may have been more serious.

 

 

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