Apple says several billion dollars set aside for United States taxes

Apple Operations International a subsidiary of Apple Inc is seen in Hollyhill Cork

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, has denied accusations by Apple CEO Tim Cook that her recent ruling that Apple must pay Ireland €13bn in back taxes came from a political base.

"When you're accused of doing something that is so foreign to your values, it brings out an outrage in you, and that's how we feel", he said.

After a two-year investigation triggered by a U.S. Senate probe, European Union officials on Tuesday said Apple had struck an illegal deal with Ireland that allowed the technology giant to pay nearly no taxes from 2003 to 2014 on profits for sales throughout the 28-nation region.

Cook, however, disputed the commission's finding that Apple had, in effect, paid corporate tax at a rate of just 0.005 percent in Ireland in 2014.

"They just picked a number from I don't know where", he said in the interview.

Apple says it paid $400 million in taxes in Ireland in 2014, and another $400 million to the U.S.

The EC ruled Tuesday that Ireland gave Apple 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) of illegal tax incentives, and ordered Dublin to recover that money.

While the world's richest company vowed to fight a ruling that it benefited from selective tax treatment, the Irish government has yet to make a final decision.

The EU courts have the power to cut or overturn repayment orders if they find fault with the commission's methodology during the appeals process.

The Irish finance minister, Michael Noonan, is in favour of appealing against the ruling. It has been 37 years since Apple launched its operations in Cork.

"I think it's a desire to reallocate taxes that should be paid in the United States to the European Union".

As is often the case when Apple is involved, the sheer size of the European Union's recent tax decision against the company nearly defies the imagination.

All of Apple's business outside of the Americas is conducted through Ireland, which has the second-lowest corporate tax rate in Europe. It's not true - there wasn't a special deal between Ireland and Apple.

Apple Sales International made research payments totalling $2bn to its parent, Apple Inc, in 2011, which significantly increased in 2014, the Commission said.

"We are concerned about a unilateral approach", Earnest said, adding that it "threatens to undermine progress that we have made collaboratively with the Europeans to make the worldwide taxation system fair" for both taxpayers and companies. As of last April, Apple had more than $181 billion in profits held outside the U.S.