Apple readies to fight $14bn tax charge against European Commission
Apple's lawyers and Dublin are trying to overturn a landmark tax ruling against them in an appeals court.
Apple was sent a $14bn tax bill by the European Commission in 2016, instructing Dublin to recover the “illegal” tax benefits allowed to the iPhone maker over the preceding 20 years.
The Irish government and Apple's appeal in the landmark dispute was being heard by a European Union court on Tuesday, with chief executive officer, Tim Cook, on record as having describing the case as “total political crap.”
On a more formal note, Apple also accused the executive European Commission of using its powers to combat state aid "to retrofit changes to national law.”
Representatives from Apple, Ireland and the EU appeared in front of the EU General Court in Luxembourg on Tuesday in the latest legal proceedings.
The hearings were expected to last through Wednesday, although a decision was unlikely to be reached for months.
Speaking in court, Apple lawyer Daniel Beard said that the ruling presumed that the company's Ireland operation was involved in work such as the development of devices such as the iPhone and iPad.
"The Commission contends that essentially all of Apple's profits from all of its sales outside the Americas must be attributed to two branches in Ireland," said Beard. "The branches' activities did not involve creating, developing or managing those rights."
"Based on the facts of this case, the primary line defies reality and common sense," he continued. "The activities of these two branches in Ireland simply could not be responsible for generating almost all of Apple's profits outside the Americas."
Beard also addressed previous criticism of Apple's having paid 0.005% tax by accusing the European Commission of looking to make "headlines by quoting tiny numbers."