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Apple tax: Ireland's appeal over the €14.3bn due to Ireland will be heard next week

The appeal is due before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The funds have been collected and are being held in escrow until the conclusion of the appeal.
The funds have been collected and are being held in escrow until the conclusion of the appeal.
Image: Tim Goode/PA Images

IRELAND’S APPEAL AGAINST the European Commission’s decision that the country was owed back taxes and interest from Apple is due to be heard next week.

In a landmark 2016 ruling, the EU Commission found that Ireland gave multinational tech giant Apple illegal state aid worth up to €13 billion over a decade.

The State is appealing the decision because it denies the company was treated any differently.

The appeal is due before the Court of Justice of the European Union next Tuesday 17 September with Ireland set to argue that the European Commission “made manifest errors of assessment in misunderstanding Irish law and the relevant facts”.

In total, the Ireland’s case relies on nine legal arguments having launched the appeal in November 2016.

The appeal argues the European Commission’s decision:

Mischaracterises the activities and responsibilities of the Irish branches of Apple Sales International (ASI) and Apple Operations Europe (AOE). These branches carried out routine functions, but all important decisions within ASI and AOE were made in the USA, and the profits deriving from these decisions were not properly attributable to the Irish branches of ASI and AOE.

Ireland will also argue that the assessment that Apple received an “advantage” was incorrect and that tax opinions given by Ireland’s Revenue Commissioners did not depart from “normal” taxation.

Another contention is that the European Commission “never clearly explained its State aid theory during the investigation” and that Ireland “never had the chance to comment”.

Despite the appeal, Ireland collected the funds from Apple and is holding them in escrow until the appeal process is concluded. Approximately €13.1 billion in state aid and €1.2 billion in interest was deposited in the escrow account by Apple over the second and third quarters of last year.

The EU Commission had previously complained that Ireland was “taking too long” to recover the funds from Apple.

Ahead of next week’s hearing, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy described it as a “wasteful appeal” that amounts to “an act of betrayal against Irish taxpayers”.

“Fine Gael is spending millions of the Irish people’s euros in an attempt to avoid recouping the €13 billion in unpaid taxes from the wealthiest corporation in the world at a time when our health service is falling to pieces, when there are thousands of homeless families across this state and when Brexit is set to cause massive economic disruption to our country.”

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Rónán Duffy

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