Sunday 22 April 2018

Apple tax probe: European Commission to miss self-imposed June deadline

Apple has a firm based in Cork. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire
Apple has a firm based in Cork. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

The European Commission will miss its target to complete a probe into the tax affairs of Apple and three other multinationals by the middle of the year.

Brussels has accused Ireland of striking a tax arrangement with technology giant 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 Government here has repeatedly said there is no case to answer.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said her office will miss a self-imposed June deadline to complete probes into Apple’s Irish tax affairs, Luxembourg’s taxation of and Fiat Finance and the taxes paid by in the Netherlands’ by coffee chain Starbucks.

All the companies have said that they acted within the law.

Read more: Ireland's tax deals meet EU rules, says Taoiseach

“We will not sacrifice the rule of law or the quality of our work to speed up the process,” Commissioner Vestager told the European Parliament lawmakers in Brussels on Tuesday.

The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said last year that he believed the Commission did not have a strong case, in relation to claims the tax treatment of Apple amounted to state aid.

''My legal advice is that the Irish authorities will win the case quite easily and that there isn't a very strong case by the Commission," the minister said back ion November.

The probe was launched in June.

Last week Apple warned investors that the cost could be “material” if it was ordered to pay past taxes to Ireland as a result of the investigation.

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