Apple tax ruling: Vestager and Cook asked to attend meeting in Dublin

12 Dec 2016

EU commissioner Margrethe Vestager and Apple CEO Tim Cook have been asked to attend an Oireachtas meeting over the Apple tax ruling. Image: Spectrumblue/Shutterstock

Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner who ruled that Apple must pay €13bn in back taxes, and the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, have been asked to attend an Oireachtas Committee meeting in Dublin early next year.

The chair of the Oireachtas all-party Finance Committee, John McGuinness, TD, is understood to have written to both Vestager and Cook, inviting them to attend.

A module will be held in late January to discuss the decision by the European Commission and its implications for Ireland.

In August, the European Commission – to the evident surprise of the Irish Government and Apple – declared that Apple must repay €13bn in back taxes.

Vestager’s €13bn finding – after a three year investigation – suggests that Apple benefited from a 1pc corporate tax rate over a number of years.

Apple and Ireland intend to fight European Commission ruling

Both Apple and the Irish Government had vehemently denied there had been any special agreement regarding Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland.

Mischievously perhaps, the Commission said that Ireland must recover these taxes, while at the same time suggesting the taxes belong to other countries.

This prompted notions of a potential windfall for Ireland, which were far from true.

McGuinness is understood to be confident that both Vestager and Cook will attend the meeting, where the former is expected to explain the rationale behind the controversial ruling.

The hearing in Dublin is expected to coincide with the publication of the 130-page judgment.

In August, Finance Minister Michael Noonan, TD, said that the Irish Government will fight the ruling in the European courts.

Apple said it is also going to the European courts to overturn the decision.

Cook described the ruling as “maddening” but said it has in no way diminished the company’s relationship with Ireland, where it employs 5,000 people.

“I’m pretty confident that the Government will do the right thing. That is to stand up and fight against this overreach,” Cook told RTÉ at the time.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years