Apple CEO calls for international tax overhaul, more data privacy

In an interview with Reuters, Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested that Apple was ready to accept the consequences of global tax reforms and said that Europe’s current data privacy laws are a step in the right direction but don’t go far enough.

Cook spoke to Reuters about the need to reform taxes on a global basis and privacy issues, where Apple has attempted to take a leadership role in Silicon Valley. Apple has been widely criticized for taking advantage of what’s known as the “Double Irish” tax loophole, leading to EU regulators to demand €13 billion in back taxes and penalties back in 2016 – a sum Apple is still yet to pay.

While Apple’s appeals are winding through European courts, Tim Cook is taking a conciliatory attitude towards tax reform, though Cook said the company should not be on the hook for the €13 billion, saying the “law should not retrofitted” to punish Apple’s past tax-avoidance strategies.

Said Cook:

I think logically everybody knows it needs to be rehauled, I would certainly be the last person to say that the current system or the past system was the perfect system. I’m hopeful and optimistic that [the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)] will find something.

The 2018 European General Data Protection Regulation don’t go far enough to protect consumers, Cook said.

We were one of the first to endorse GDPR, we think it is overall extremely good, not only for Europe. We think it’s necessary but not sufficient. You have to go further and that further is required to get privacy back to where it should be.

Cook was in Ireland to accept an award recognizing Apple’s investment in the country, where it’s done business since 1980.

Do you agree? Do Europe’s current privacy laws need improvement? Should Apple and other multinational companies pay taxes more equitably? Sound off in the comments.