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The Apple tax ruling is being talked about at the G20 summit in China

Jean-Claude Juncker has defended the decision after attacks from the US

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and China's President Xi Jinping.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and China's President Xi Jinping.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER has made his first public comment on the Apple tax ruling, defending the judgement and calling it ‘based on facts and legislation’.

The European Commission President has rejected claims from across the Atlantic that the ruling is an attack on the US.

“It would be absurd to choose this territory of state taxation to attack the USA,” he told reporters at the G20 Summit in China.

“We are applying the rules. We are basing our decisions on facts and on the legislation.”

“Our rules on state aid have always been clear,” Juncker added.

National authorities cannot give tax benefits to some companies and not to others. This is the levelled playing field that the commission has always worked to defend. We apply these rules without discrimination and without bias.

Juncker’s comments come as attention at home turned the government’s motion on an appeal that is due to be debated on Wednesday.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said yesterday that his party supports the government’s decision to appeal the ruling but would not be contributing to the wording of the motion.

This morning, Labour’s finance spokesperson Joan Burton confirmed that her party would be seeking three amendments to the legislation.

Party leader Brendan Howlin has already said that Labour will be supporting the government’s decision to appeal the €13 billion ruling.

The first amendment  relates to the closing of loopholes in section 110 of our 1997 Taxes Act that has seen vulture funds avoid tax by gaining charitable status.

Irish general election Labour's Joan Burton has outlining her party's position on the ruling. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Labour also makes reference to Ireland’s 12.5% tax rate and wants an amendment that ensures multinationals pay a minimum effective tax rate.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Burton declined to put a number on what the minimum effective rate should be:

12.5% of the taxable profits, it’s not 0% of the taxable profit, that’s the income less the expenses that a company has or the legitimate charges that they have, and we need to see a minimum effective tax rate.

Labour’s third amendment calls for the establishment of an “independent standing commission on taxation”.

Burton says such a commission would “review trends in our tax laws against agreed principles of tax justice, and to identify anomalies as they arise.”

 

Sinn Féin and PBP-AAA are opposed to the government’s appeal of the Apple tax ruling.

Read: FactCheck: Is Apple really the “largest taxpayer in Ireland”? >

Read: We Need To Talk About Apple: Two top Irish economists go head-to-head over the €13 billion >

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Rónán Duffy

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