End of probe nigh as Apple could be hit for back taxes of billions of euro
Brussels may be about to announce the end of its long running probe into whether Apple’s tax treatment in Ireland amounted to unfair State Aid within days, according to the Financial Times.
The paper reported tonight that the European Commission may announce its findings a the start of September, and will find against Ireland – potentially meaning the US technology giant could be hit for back taxes that could amount to billions of euro.
However, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has already insisted the Government here will appeal against any adverse finding in the case, even though the back taxes would ultimately be paid to the Exchequer here.
The Department of Finance said it has no new information on either the timing of the decision from Europe, or what it will be. In July, Mr Noonan said a decision could come in September or October.
A finding against Ireland would be a major blow for the Government, which has repeatedly insisted it has no case to answer.
Brussels has accused Ireland of striking a tax arrangement with Apple that was based on keeping jobs here but which gave the company an advantage that amounted to state aid and went against international guidelines.
The Apple probe dragged Ireland to the centre of the global controversy over ultra-low taxes paid by some big corporations.
Tensions between Washington and Brussels over the latter’s state aid investigations involving a number of US companies, including Apple, has been high this year.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wrote to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager earlier in the year warning the probes potentially represented dangerous precedents.
And just this week, the Treasury published a paper claiming that the probes were inconsistent with international norms and undermines the global tax system.
It said that potentially demanding back taxes from the companies concerned would set "an undesirable precedent" for tax authorities in other countries.