Apple tax ruling: What options do the Government have?

The Government will today hold a second emergency Cabinet meeting in 72 hours over the Apple controversy.

Ministers still have three options.

Option one: Agree to appeal with no conditions

Since the European Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, announced on Tuesday that a three-year investigation has found Apple owes this State €13bn in unpaid tax, Fine Gael has been completely opposed to accepting the money.

Instead, it wants to appeal the decision in the European courts due to fears that to do otherwise would risk multi-national jobs and mean this country is accepting its tax system is questionable at best.

Both the Independent Alliance and unaligned minister Katherine Zappone are reluctant to agree, meaning it is unlikely to happen.

Option two: Agree to appeal, provided a Dáil vote takes place

The Independent Alliance want this move and believes it is the best way to resolve the Cabinet crisis.

Under the option, an official wording of a motion to appeal the ruling will be agreed by cabinet today before it is sent to the Dáil to be voted on next week.

This will allow Fine Gael to get its way — due to the make-up of the Dáil a vote will be a rubber-stamping exercise — while giving the Independent Alliance to claim it is standing up for its core pre-election principle of giving ultimate power back to parliament and not cabinet.

Apple tax ruling: What options do the Government have?

Option three: Agree to appeal and to a Dáil vote, provided a review of other multinationals is included

Again, the Independent Alliance — and in particular John Halligan — was pushing for this to take place, with Shane Ross and Kevin Moran meeting with Finance Minister Michael Noonan on the issue last night.

In addition to giving Fine Gael its way while officially giving the impression of parliamentary power, a review of other multinationals’ tax bills would allow Alliance members still uncomfortable with turning down €13bn to claim a moral victory. Or, in political speak, cover from an angry support base backlash.

Option four: Perpetual crisis

In this minority government world, such an option is always on the table.

Should a deal fail to be struck on a united government position in response to the Apple crisis, the Coalition may seek to postpone its decision again in the hope of resolving the matter and avoiding a snap second election caused by at least one minister resigning from power.

Apple tax ruling: What options do the Government have?

More on this topic

Stiglitz: Ireland not a good EU citizen over tax ratesStiglitz: Ireland not a good EU citizen over tax rates

Government backs Apple: Appeal is not in long-term best interestGovernment backs Apple: Appeal is not in long-term best interest

'No doubt' many countries would claim part of Apple's €14bn in back taxes, says Donohoe     'No doubt' many countries would claim part of Apple's €14bn in back taxes, says Donohoe

Apple's Irish state aid tax bill paid in full to GovernmentApple's Irish state aid tax bill paid in full to Government


Lifestyle

As he prepares to stand down at Wexford Festival Opera, director David Agler tells Cathy Desmond about the highlights of his 15 years at the helmAll set for his swansong: Director David Agler highlights 15 years at Wexford Festival Opera

Volunteers from the multinational tech company harvest food fresh from Fota Gardens, writes Peter Dowdall.Made in Munster: The tech giant Apple harvesting food from Fota Gardens

Peter Dowdall takes a look at a plant that thrives in damp soil and is a key part of Ireland’s biodiversityThe wonders of willows: A key part of Ireland’s biodiversity

Pollutants can have an impact on your health, but there are things you can do to reduce the potential damage.High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests and strokes’: 5 easy ways to protect yourself

More From The Irish Examiner