Thursday 23 November 2017

'This is hard ball. It says we deprived other countries' taxpayers of money'

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager Picture: Getty Images
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager Picture: Getty Images
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

'Simplify, then exaggerate". This is the advice that is often given to newspaper columnists. Few events show better than the Apple tax case how bad that advice can be, not because the matter cannot be exaggerated, but because it cannot be simplified in any honest way, at least not yet.

Today's column attempts to clarify what can now be clarified, and cast light on some of the issues that will take time to clarify.

First off, the Apple tax/state aid case is massively complex, as evidenced by the years it has taken the European Commission to come to Tuesday's conclusions that Ireland's tax treatment of the company was in breach of rules on states aiding companies with taxpayers' money.

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