On January 21 we posted a report titled "Apple's CEO Met with the EU's Antitrust Chief over the Looming Tax Judgement that's due this Spring." We noted in the report that "After the meeting, Cook sent out a tweet highlighting figures showing that the company's products support more than 1.4 million jobs across Europe," which mildly came across as some form of threat." Today we're able to see why Cook struck out after that meeting. It's being reported today that "Europe's antitrust chief signaled on Monday her determination to go after Apple, Starbucks and McDonald's over their sweetheart tax deals in the bloc, dismissing U.S. criticism of her crackdown on the companies." Obviously Cook didn't like the direction that the meeting was taking, considering that Apple now appears to be reserved as the prize of the EU's case.
Reuters report further noted that "European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager's comments come three days after senior U.S. Treasury official Robert Stack met her team in the latest lobbying effort against her clampdown on tax deals involving U.S. as well as EU companies.
Vestager, who was not at the meeting, indicated she had not been swayed by Stack's arguments, similar to those made to a Senate committee last December.
"It is the same argument as we have heard before," she told reporters on the sidelines of a conference organized by the Global Competition Law Centre.
"Just as it is an obvious right for U.S. tax authorities to tax revenues when they are repatriated, it is also for European tax authorities to tax money that is made in the member states."
Apple and others have been heavily criticized for using a tax avoidance tactic known as the "Double Irish." Last week we posted a report titled "The European Union is proposing new Rules to Thwart Tax Avoidance Schemes used by U.S. Multinationals like Apple." For more on this, see the full Reuters report here.