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€13bn Apple bill reversal

Wednesday, 15th July, 2020 3:54pm

“This was a backdoor attempt by the EU Commission to meddle in Irish tax affairs and it was rightly slammed shut by the court.”

Those were the words of former Cork Fianna Fáil TD and current MEP Billy Kelleher after a top EU court yesterday ruled in favour of Ireland and Apple’s appeal and decided that the technology giant did not owe just over €13 billion in back taxes.

The General Court of the European Union (GCEU) in Luxembourg overturned a decision made four years ago by the European Commission that Apple, with a base in Hollyhill, was being given State aid.

According to the General Court of the European Union yesterday, the Commission was wrong to declare that Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe had been granted a selective economic advantage and, by extension, State aid.

The decision is seen as a positive for Cork since Apple has its European HQ in Hollyhill where around 6,000 people are employed.

“Ireland has been vindicated today by the GCEU when it ruled against the EU Commission case on Apple’s tax affairs,” said Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher. 

The Department of Finance and Apple both welcomed the judgment.

“Ireland has always been clear that there was no special treatment provided to the two Apple companies - ASI and AOE. The correct amount of Irish tax was charged,” the Dept. said. 

Kelleher, a member of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: “The EU Commission attempted to question the integrity of the Irish tax system, which I believe potentially undermined Ireland’s credibility on the world stage. From the moment this decision was taken by the EU Commission a number of years ago, the Irish government, and the vast majority of responsible Irish political parties sought to resolutely defend our country, and they have been vindicated.”

He added that questions do need to be asked about how the Commission “got it so wrong”. “Tax is a national competence enshrined in law by the EU treaties. Only a unanimous decision by all 27 member states can change that; the EU Commission must now accept this fact following the ruling,” Kelleher said.

 

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