Tuesday 12 December 2017

Brussels made 'fundamental errors' when it ordered Apple to repay €13bn back taxes to Ireland, company said

Apple chief executive Tim Cook. Photo: PA
Apple chief executive Tim Cook. Photo: PA

Stephanie Bodoni and Colm Kelpie

The European Commission made "fundamental errors" and failed to examine all the evidence when it ordered Apple to repay €13bn in back taxes to Ireland, the company said in its appeal.

Apple said the European Commission "violated legal certainty by ordering recovery under an unforeseeable interpretation of state aid law".

It also said it "failed to examine all relevant evidence" and that it "failed to reason the decision adequately," according to details published yesterday.

The EU also "failed to prove selectivity" and "wrongly treated the applicants as if they were Irish resident companies and as if they should be taxed on their worldwide profits".

Earlier this month Finance Minister Michael Noonan accused Brussels of being politically motivated when it found against Ireland's tax system in the landmark case last year.

"Politics" was a factor in the European Commission's ruling that Ireland gave Apple a sweetheart tax deal, he told the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

The decision that the American multinational technology company must pay about €13bn in back taxes is part of an attempt by the Brussels-based body to extend its power and remit, the minister claimed.

He was answering questions on the case, which has set him at loggerheads with EU Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager.

She ruled last August that Ireland must collect €13bn plus interest from Apple for taxes that were unpaid over a decade as a result of a tax treatment that amounted to illegal state aid to the company. The Government and Apple have appealed against the decision.

He said he didn't believe the Commission was targeting Ireland in particular over the Apple decision, but that there was political input because the Commission is also a political forum.

He also argued that Ireland's entitlement to the money, in the face of competing claims from some other EU countries, remains uncertain. (Additional reporting Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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