European Union takes Ireland to court over £11bn Apple tax bill

Marco Green
Октября 4, 2017

The Commission decision of 30 August 2016 concluded that Ireland's tax benefits to Apple were illegal under EU State aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses.

Both Apple and Ireland have appealed the decision, which was laid down on behalf of the Commission by European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. "That is why we have today chose to refer Ireland to the EU Court for failing to implement our decision".

The commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said on Wednesday: "More than one year after the commission adopted this decision, Ireland has still not recovered the money, also not in part. But member states need to make sufficient progress to restore competition", she added.

The US Treasury Department roundly rejected the reasoning of the commission's decision, and Apple and the government of Ireland both filed appeals.

Ireland's government said it was "extremely disappointing" that the Commission has made a decision to refer the case to court.

Also, member states still have to recover illegal State aid within the deadline set in the Commission decision, which is usually four months.

The European Union has launched a fresh crackdown against tech giants Amazon and Apple over tax avoidance. The European Commission's investigation alleged that the USA online retailer benefited from a sweetheart tax deal that granted it nearly a decade of illegal state support from Luxembourg.

It's worth noting that the BBC points out that the European Commission's current president, Jean-Claude Juncker, was Prime minister of Luxembourg when the deal was allegedly struck.

Dublin's furious finance ministry immediately hit back this morning, calling the Commission's decision to take legal action "extremely regrettable" and "wholly unneccessary".

"It's a tricky thing to do because it's a large sum so of course you have to figure out how to do that".

It said Apple's tax arrangement had enabled one subsidiary, Apple Sales International, to pay 0.005% tax in 2014 - just £50 in taxes on every £1m of profit.

CEO Tim Cook has previously said the ruling had "no basis in fact or in law", calling it "obvious targeting of Apple".

The issue has also divided opinion in Ireland, with opposition MPs suggesting the government should use the windfall to fix the country's economy.

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