Apple has announced that it plans on hiring an additional 1,000 employees at its headquarters in Cork, Ireland, which is the Apple hub for its European operations.
The news comes as Apple is dealing with a looming European Union tax ruling on the company’s dealings with Ireland, however the hiring of so many people suggests that the probe will not effect Apple’s Ireland operations.
The EU basically accused Ireland of dodging international tax laws by allowing Apple to shelter its profits within the company. These profits are worth tens of billions of dollars, and Ireland is being accused of sheltering these profits from revenue collectors in return for the maintaining of jobs.
“You can tell by our announcement today, we’re all in,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in an interview with RTE, an Irish broadcaster.
A decision from the EU is expected to be made right after Christmas, and it’s not yet known what the EU will come up with. Cook agrees, saying that he can’t say for sure what will be brought forth, however he does say that if the information and evidence is viewed on a fair basis, he believes that there will not be any charges. According to Cook, Apple didn’t make any “special deal” with Ireland, and that Apple is paying the 12.5% corporate tax on income generated.
Cook also said that if the EU does come up with something against the company, its committed to staying in Ireland and that Apple would continue to support Ireland no matter what the ruling.
Currently, Apple employs around 5,000 people in Cork, which is a 25% increase from last year. Not only that, but Apple has been in Ireland since 1980, growing its presence in the country over time. The staff at the Ireland facility are involved in a number of activities, including things like manufacturing, customer care, supply-chain management, and so on.
Apple’s presence in Ireland goes beyond simply having a headquarters there. The company has partnered with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, supporting research into offshore energy. Not only that, but it also established a €1m Ocean Energy Industry Fund, supporting the development and research of new ways to capture energy from the waves.
Cook himself recently was honored with a Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage by the Philosophical Society at Trinity College Dublin, with the ceremony being attended by hundreds of people. At the ceremony, Cook spoke about how honored he was to receive the award and how Apple has been in the country for 35 years and was proud to be the largest employer in Cork.
Cook also spoke highly of Ireland for its role in keeping peace throughout the United Nations, saying that it was something no other country had matched. Last but not least, Cook praised Ireland’s efforts for human rights, in particular referencing LGBT rights, Cook himself having come out as gay.
Of course, the EU isn’t only targeting Apple when it comes to dodging corporate taxes. The European Commission recently ordered Dutch authorities to recover a pretty hefty 30 million euros from Starbucks. It also ordered Luxembourg to do the same with Fiat Chrysler. At the time of the Starbucks ruling, the company said that it planned to appeal the decision, saying that it followed Dutch laws and OECD rules. Fiat denied getting any aid from Luxembourg, saying that the backdated payments wouldn’t really effect that company’s bottom line.
Interestingly enough, Apple only paid an average tax of 2.5 percent on its $109 billion of non-US profits from 2009-2014, which is much smaller than the 12.5 percent tax rate in Ireland. Apple, however, says that it paid 12.5 percent on all revenue generated in Ireland, which is an important distinction to make.
The U.S. corporate tax is much higher than countries like Ireland, sitting between 15 percent and 39 percent.
Only time will tell if Apple ends up getting in trouble in Ireland, and it will certainly be interesting to see what happens. Hopefully this won’t lead to another years-long legal battle that Apple is involved in.