Apple Says Several Billion Dollars Set Aside for U.S. Taxes

(AP/Reuters) -
In this Sept. 9, 2015 photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook waves during an Apple event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
In this 2015 photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook waves during an Apple event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Apple’s chief executive says the company has put aside “several billion dollars” to pay tax liabilities in the United States as overseas earnings are repatriated.

Tim Cook told Irish state network RTE in an interview broadcast Thursday that repatriation should occur next year as profits from 2014 are repatriated.

His comments came after the European Union ordered the U.S.-based firm to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes to Ireland plus billions more in interest.

The tax dispute is part of an ongoing fight over whether America’s largest global corporations pay adequate taxes throughout the world. Apple plans to fight the EU order, which Cook characterized as unfair. He told Irish media that the EU’s findings are “maddening” and that the company had not received special treatment from Irish authorities.

The European Commission’s Competition chief Margrethe Vestager, when asked if she accepted that statement, told a news conference in Brussels:

“No, I will not. This is a decision based on the facts of the case,” she said.

She said the calculations of the back tax owned by Apple to Ireland were based on data provided by Apple itself and facts presented during hearings on Apple tax issues in the United States. Vestager said she would meet U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in Washington in September to further discuss the Apple tax case.