The offices of Ireland’s ruling government party, Fine Gael, were littered with apples Wednesday, as members of Sinn Fein’s youth wing staged a vibrant protest against Apple’s recent tax furor.
Red and green apples of various varieties covered the railings and steps outside the party’s Dublin headquarters following the EU investigation into the country artificially reducing Apple’s tax burden.
The three year probe into Apple’s Irish tax affairs has ended with the European Commission presenting the company with a 13 billion ($14.5 billion) tax bill. It concluded that Ireland violated EU law by offering Apple tax benefits unavailable to other companies.
Wednesday’s fruity protest was prompted by the news that Fine Gael plans to appeal the EU decision and stand by Apple.
“We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don’t owe them any more than we’ve already paid,” Apple CEO Tim Cook complained in a statement.
Apple reported over $53 billion in profit in its last fiscal year on worldwide sales of more than $233 billion. It says it pays $13 billion in corporate income taxes globally.
However, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Ireland’s tax breaks meant that the company’s effective corporate tax rate on its European profits dropped from 1 percent in 2003 to a mere 0.005 percent in 2014.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.