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Apple to Europe: It's our job to design Ireland's tax system, not yours

Cupertino says no

Apple has filed its defence against the European Commission's claim it owes €13bn in back taxes in Ireland.

Apple on Monday filed a defence in which it dismissed the very idea of the US$13.75/£11bn bill, calling for the total or partial annulment of the European Commission decision that set the case in motion and suggesting the Commission pay Apple's costs into the bargain.

Cupertino's argument offers 14 pleas in law that collectively assert that the EU just doesn't understand how Apple operates and thoroughly misunderstands the way it gets stuff done in Ireland.

We therefore get familiar arguments suggesting Apple need not pay tax in Ireland because the real profit-generating work happens elsewhere. Apple Ireland “carried out only routine functions and were not involved in the development and commercialisation of Apple IP which drove profits,” says Plea 4.

Plea 6 argues that Apple did not get a special tax-reducing deal in Ireland.

Plea 14 unloads, arguing that the decision exceeds the Commission’s competence as follows:

The Commission has violated legal certainty by ordering recovery under an unforeseeable interpretation of State aid law; failed to examine all relevant evidence contrary to its obligation of due diligence; failed to reason the decision adequately; and exceeded its competence under Article 107 TFEU by attempting to redesign Ireland’s corporate tax system.

Ireland agrees: it's also called for the decision that set this in motion to be annulled.

There's no sign of a court date for this matter, but doubtless there are more filings and counter-filings in the works. Which begs the question of where all the lawyers involved will pay tax ... ®

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