Vestager tells Ibec: All firms big or small must pay fair share of taxes

'We need to continue our efforts to put in place the right legislation to address tax loopholes and ensure transparency'
Vestager tells Ibec: All firms big or small must pay fair share of taxes

European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said they have appealed the court decision on the Ireland Apple case. Picture: Virginia Mayo

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has told business leaders in Ireland that all companies must pay their fair share of taxes from their profits.

Ms Vestager was addressing this morning's Ibec Reboot & Reimagine campaign series a week after she confirmed the Commission would appeal a major court decision on the Apple case in Ireland.

In 2016, the EU Commission said Ireland provided Apple with unfair tax incentives and ordered the tech giant to pay €13 billion, plus interest. However, both Apple and the government disagreed with the decision and brought an appeal before the European Courts which they won in July. 

"In the case of Apple's tax treatment in Ireland, we have had a very careful look at the General Court's judgement and we respectfully think the court has made a number of errors of law and this is why we are appealing the judgement to the European Court of Justice," Ms Vestager told the Ibec seminar. "Two things are already clear. If member states give such multinational companies tax advantages not available to their rivals this harms fair competition in the European Union and is in breach of state aid rules," she said.

"Secondly, we need to continue our efforts to put in place the right legislation to address tax loopholes and ensure transparency and this comes from the very simple thing that so many businesses have to work hard to make a turnover, to make a profit and from that profit they pay their taxes. Of course, this shouldn't be for most companies this should be for all because of fairness.

Apple and the Irish State have always defended their position saying the correct amount of Irish tax was paid and that Ireland provided no State aid to Apple. 

The Ibec event was also addressed by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe who is finalising Budget 2021. He said the sectors of the economy most impacted by a no-deal Brexit would be prioritised for the use of funding from the EU's Brexit Contingency Fund. However, he said the work was continuing to secure a trade deal with the UK.

"There is no fund that is going to be big enough to compensate an economy for the consequences of a no-trade-deal Brexit That's why we are going to strive to the last second in the European Union to see if there is a trade deal possible."

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