Taoiseach hits out at ECJ Apple tax referral

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has called the referral of Ireland to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the Apple tax issue “wholly unnecessary” and “unwarranted”.

Speaking in the Dáil, he said: “We profoundly disagree with the commission’s interpretation of state aid rules. It is our view that tax is a national competence. It is a matter for this parliament — not a European matter. This is already on appeal to the ECJ.”

He said in the meantime, the Government was making arrangements to collect the €13bn from Apple.

“The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) is managing this process and has tendered for fund managers to set up an escrow account and someone to manage the money until the ECJ decides who it belongs to,” Mr Varadkar added.

Chartered Accountants Ireland said the commission had placed huge pressure on Ireland unnecessarily.

Tax and public policy director Brian Keegan said: “It created a huge logistical challenge for the country. €13bn has to be collected and held in a way whereby the money was secure and would not lose value over the course of the appeal process. It is not reasonable for the commission to challenge the way Ireland is working on this unprecedented task in the EU court.”

In relation to Amazon, tax advisor Tax and said it had been “dealt a forceful blow in the continuing global confrontation over corporate taxation and state aid”.

Managing director Tim Wach said: “Ultimately we are seeing the commission flexing its muscle and taking an overly narrow approach.”

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