Apple’s Irish tax status equivalent to ‘State aid’, says EU

30 Sep 2014

Leinster House, Dublin

After months of investigation into Apple’s corporate tax rate within Ireland, the European Union (EU) has accused the Irish Government and the consumer tech giant of breaching the EU’s rules.

A letter sent to Ireland’s then-Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore, TD, in June that asked for information surrounding Apple’s rate of tax in the country, has been released today. The letter shows the European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia comparing the Government’s part in Apple’s Irish tax arrangements as an equivalent of ‘State aid’.

This continues the EU’s point of contention with Ireland offering the lowest corporate tax rate in the 28 member states of the European Union – at 12.5pc – which it sees as going against the EU’s laws on the free internal market.

The letter demanded to know Apple’s position in Ireland and the level of tax it had been paying since the company first established an office in Ireland in 1980. If the European courts find Apple has been at fault in these dealings, it can end up footing a bill that could run into billions of euros.

Yesterday, the Department of Finance said in a statement it is adamant there has been no breach of EU rules.

“Ireland is confident that there is no breach of State aid rules in this case and has already issued a formal response to the Commission earlier this month, addressing in detail the concerns and some misunderstandings contained in the opening decision.

“Ireland welcomed that opportunity to clarify important issues about the applicable tax law in this case and to explain that the company concerned did not receive selective treatment and was taxed fully in accordance with the law.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic