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State has spent €670,000 to fight Europe in Apple case


Apple Photo: PA

Apple Photo: PA

Apple Photo: PA

The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, has confirmed that the State has spent just under €670,000 on fees to date defending its position in the European Commission Apple tax case.

In a written Dáil reply to Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett (People Before Profit), Minister Noonan confirmed that as the case "involves a significant degree of legal and technical complexity, some €667,000 has been spent to date by my Dept and the Revenue Commissioners on legal and other services".

Minister Noonan indicated that the full bill is higher when he stated: "This figure does not incorporate any further legal costs or costs for other services pertaining to the Attorney General's Office."

Mr Noonan said that he was aware of speculation about a possible decision being made next month on the case.

He stated: "I remain of the view that there was no breach of State Aid rules in this case and that the legislative provisions were correctly applied.

He added: "In the event that the Commission forms the view that there was State Aid, Ireland is entitled to challenge this decision in the European Courts. As the Government has already indicated, we will take that course of action, if necessary, to continue to vigorously defend the Irish position.

On the case, Minister Noonan stated: "This is a priority matter and Ireland has co-operated fully with the process to date and will continue to do so. My Department has engaged closely with the Commission throughout this process.

"Detailed and comprehensive responses have been provided to the Commission demonstrating that the appropriate amount of Irish tax was charged in accordance with the relevant legislation, that no selective advantage was given and that there was no State Aid. "

Initial findings by the Commission in 2014 said that Apple's tax arrangements were improperly designed to give the iPhone maker a financial advantage in exchange for jobs here.

Apple said in 2013 it had paid an effective tax rate of less than 2pc here over the previous 10 years. Estimates of Apple's potential tax liability if the final decision goes against Ireland and Apple range from hundreds of millions or euro to a high of €19bn.

However it is not clear what monies will be due to Ireland if Apple and the State lose the case. In June 2014, the Competition Directorate of the Commission announced its intention to open formal state aid investigations into tax rulings provided to a number of companies in various member states of the EU.

Since last October, investigations in three other Member States have concluded with the Commission finding that the Member States granted an illegal State Aid.

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