The European Commission has been accused of trying to rewrite Irish tax rules and of wrongly interpreting laws in a strongly worded defence by the Government on whether Apple received €13bn in state aid.
The rebuke, published last night by the Government, was released ahead of the expected publication today from Brussels of its ruling on why it claims the tech-giant owes Ireland €13bn in back-tax. Brussels argues Ireland did not collect enough tax due from Apple over a ten-year period and that the company’s tax burden was reduced in what was an alleged breach of EU state aid rules.
The damning ruling against Ireland, originally made in August, threw the Government into disarray and it was forced to quickly reject the decision and defend its decision to appeal the ruling.
Government sources say they expect that ruling, a 150-page document, to be published today. Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s department last night released its defence, in anticipation of the EU release. This strongly refutes the claims that Ireland did a special deal with Apple. “Ireland did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple — the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no state aid was provided. Ireland does not do deals with taxpayers,” the department said.
Its document outlined eight reasons why it says the EU ruling was wrong. These arguments include:
The defence reflects the Government’s decision to appeal and fight the EU’s Apple ruling. While the original ruling, set to be published as early as today, was given to the Government back in August, the document was never made public at the time and was only shared with Apple.
Its release is likely to throw the spotlight back onto Ireland’s tax arrangements with multinationals as well as how Apple’s relationship with Ireland will continue.
Mr Kenny met Apple CEO Tim Cook in the US earlier this month. The two discussed the EU case as well as the lodgement of some of the disputed €13bn into a holding account. Mr Kenny said the two men had then discussed the expansion of operations in Cork and that he had no concerns about Apple’s future in Ireland.
The appeal by the Government is expected to take a number of years.
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