Tim Cook calls the giant Apple tax bill 'total political crap'

Tim Cook
Tim Cook

"Total political crap". That's the surprisingly-mouthy response from Apple CEO Tim Cook when asked for his thoughts on the iPhone company's whopping €13bn tax bill.

An EU ruling this week announced findings that Apple had been taking advantage of "sweetheart deals" with Ireland that saw it pay corporation tax as low as 0.005 per cent on its profits. At its height, that equated roughly to a charge of a measly €50 on every €1 million in profits.

The quoted €13bn owed represents what the EU believes should have been fairly paid between 2003 and 2014, despite Apple enjoying lightweight taxation in the Irish state for around 25 years.

Cook burns Brussels

The usually softly-spoken Apple boss hasn't minced his words in relation to the claims, however, believing the findings from the Brussels officials are politically motivated during an interview with the Irish Independent.

"I can't see another explanation for it," said the Apple boss.

"This conclusion that the Commission has reached has no basis in law or in fact. So I think it clearly suggests that this is politics at play.

"This is a huge overreach that represents retrospective activity and is completely unfair."

Both Apple and Ireland have stated that they will appeal against the ruling. On the face of things, this may seem an unusual move from Ireland – why turn down a €13bn handout?

But with so many other giant multinational companies enjoying similar benefits in Ireland, the long financial game for the state may be to keep them all similarly sweet.

And if you shirk at the steep prices of Apple gear currently, just imagine how those prices could shoot up should Apple's tax bill be brought into line with those that don't have such shrewd accountants.

  • And then there's September's other big Apple story – keep up to date with all the iPhone 7 launch details on TechRadar.
Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.