Senior Govt minister disagrees with Dept statement on Apple tax ruling

A senior Government minister has said the Department of Finance was wrong to claim last night the European Commission has misinterpreted Irish tax laws over the Apple tax scandal, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith of the Irish Examiner.

Children's Minister and unaligned Independent TD Katherine Zappone made the comment as Brussels prepared to release its full report into the controversy to explain why it believes the Irish state allowed the US multi-national to ignore a massive €13bn tax bill.

In a damning statement on Sunday night, the Department of Finance insisted this country has done nothing wrong and that the European Commission is incorrect in its assessment Ireland is a tax haven which cuts deals with multi-nationals.

"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," it said.

However, asked about the comment this morning, Ms Zappone contradicted her Government colleagues by saying she stands by her view in August that Ireland's tax laws must be reformed, adding the Department of Finance was "wrong" to send out Sunday's statement.

"In my view, yes," she said when asked if the Department of Finance was wrong on the issue.

"I think it was very clear at the time of the Apple judgement that I was at odds with some of my cabinet colleagues, Fine Gael government colleagues. I think that what happened was unethical.

"I think everyone should pay their fair share of tax including multi-national corporations, though I do believe it's important we appeal.

"I hope that many of the countries that didn't get their fair share of tax in the past have an opportunity to go into a court room and put that argument in an open-ended way," she said.

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