Taoiseach to offer ‘robust defence’ of Apple tax issue

Enda Kenny strongly signalled yesterday that Ireland was not worried, and will make a "robust defence", to European authorities investigating corporate tax practices with computer giant Apple.

Taoiseach to offer  ‘robust defence’ of Apple tax issue

The Taoiseach’s comments come as the European Commission continues to probe if the computer company received selective tax treatment, a situation denied by both Ireland and Apple.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton also said multinational company bosses were not raising the tax issue with him during meetings.

A formal investigation into Apple’s tax arrangements with Ireland was announced earlier this month. It came after a US senate committee accused Ireland of giving special treatment to the computer firm, so it could avoid large tax payments globally.

The commission says the investigation is checking if the arrangement complies with the EU rules on state aid. It is also looking at tax deals in the Netherlands and Luxemburg for Starbucks and Fiat.

Commission officials say, following an initial analysis, it had “concerns” Ireland is underestimating the taxable profits for Apple.

Addressing this yesterday at the announcement of 400 new jobs with PayPal, Mr Kenny said: “No I’m not worried. We’re very clear in our strong and robust defence of the intention of the commission to carry out an investigation here.

“That’s about a specific technical issue about a specific company. It has nothing to do with the rate of corporate tax. We’ve made that perfectly clear.”

“Our situation is statutory based. We believe that it is ethically implemented and we will defend this very robustly; and we made that clear to companies all over the world.”

Announcing the new jobs for Dundalk, Mr Bruton said: “This is an investigation that is occurring in a number of EU states; it’s a state aid investigation. It’s not an investigation of our tax system. So, an investigation of very specific, technical rulings that were made in respect of the tax code,” he said.

Mr Kenny also said the Government was participating in a process with the OECD in looking at areas where companies may be avoiding tax.

He added: “Obviously there is an international requirement to have an international response to a global problem here. As I’ve said on so many occasions, the digital world is moving ahead of the legislative world and we need to have a response to that.”

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