Tuesday 24 April 2018

Five things you need to know about today’s Dáil debate on the Apple ruling

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Apple CEO Tim Cook on a visit to Apple’s Cork facility in 2014.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Apple CEO Tim Cook on a visit to Apple’s Cork facility in 2014.
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

They're back earlier than usual - and it's to discuss the EU Commission's finding of the €13bn Apple tax ruling.

Is their Dáil debate making a difference? Here are the five things you need to know about today's debate on the Apple back-tax decision.

1. The Dáil’s back. What’s going on?

The Government has recalled the Dáil three weeks early to debate the controversial ruling by the European Commission that the technology giant Apple was given a sweetheart tax deal by the Revenue Commissioner’s worth €13bn.

2. Sounds serious. Will anything come of it?

Not really. Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party are backing the decision to appeal the ruling - so there is no prospect of the Government suffering a defeat today.

However, deputies will use the debate to raise questions over Ireland’s taxation system.

3. So the decision is being appealed. What happens next?

It should be pointed out that the appeal could take more than two years before a decision is made. Apple itself is also appealing the decision.

The Government has said that Revenue is now obliged to collect the €13bn and put the money in a special account.

4. So we will have €13bn to spend on housing, health, education etc?

Afraid not. If the appeal is successful, the money will have to be returned to Apple. A department of finance document also notes that other States may have an entitlement to the overall sum so the issue is far from straightforward.

5. This is all a ball of smoke then, isn’t it?

Not at all. An unwelcome spotlight has been put on Ireland and the tax arrangements it has struck with companies.

There are now calls to determine how many other firms have received such ‘sweetheart deals’. And of course, the matter has attracted international headlines and drawn the ire of the likes of US President Barack Obama. So there is a lot more to run in this yet.

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