Irish wonder what to do with Apple tax if EU orders a clawback

“As Ireland braces itself for a possible European Union order to claw back Apple Inc.’s unpaid taxes, government officials warned Finance Minister Michael Noonan that he would face two crucial questions upon delivery of a ruling that could come ‘soon,'” Stephanie Bodoni, Dara Doyle, and Aoife White report for Bloomberg.

“The first is whether to appeal at the EU’s top court. The second, is what to do with the ‘large recovery amounts’ pending the outcome,” Bodoni, Doyle, and White report. “Ireland could be sitting on the cash for ‘several years,’ according to a briefing note from last month published Wednesday. Amid growing speculation that Apple could be forced to pay back billions of euros of tax breaks, officials said they are preparing for the worst and that an adverse ruling ‘could have significant negative implications for Ireland, in terms of reputation and the creation of uncertainty around our tax system.'”

“Ireland has consistently said it’s done nothing wrong and that it would appeal any negative decision from the European Commission,” Bodoni, Doyle, and White report. “Officials said in the note they had no firm date for when the EU authority would deliver a decision.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple followed the law when paying their taxes:

There was no special deal that we cut with Ireland. We simply followed the laws in the country over the 35 years that we have been in Ireland. If the question is, was there ever a ‘quid pro quo’ that we were trying to strike with the Irish government – that was never the case. We’ve always been very transparent with the Irish government that we wanted to be a good corporate citizen… If countries change the tax laws, we will abide by the new laws and we will pay taxes according to those laws. – Apple CFO Luca Maestri

Apple cash move will not end EU tax probe – April 11, 2016
Analyst: Apple investors unconcerned about potential EU tax bill – April 5, 2016
EU’s Vestager says will not complete tax inquiries of Apple, others in second quarter – May 5, 2015
U.S. demands EU reconsider tax probes of its companies – February 12, 2016
U.S. Treasury official to meet EU antitrust team over Apple tax deals – January 29, 2016
Apple and Google stand by Europe tax deals; Rupert Murdoch weighs in – January 27, 2016
Apple could trigger global tax war, potential breakdown of the international tax system – January 27, 2016
Apple CEO Cook lobbies EU antitrust chief over Irish back taxes – January 21, 2016
Think Ireland’s corporate tax is unfair? Wave goodbye to Apple and thousands of jobs if it’s changed – November 14, 2015
Apple announces 1,000 new jobs in Ireland as EU tax ruling nears – November 11, 2015
Apple tax probe won’t hurt Ireland, Finance Minister Noonan says – October 5, 2015
EU’s Vestager says will not complete tax inquiries of Apple, others in second quarter – May 5, 2015
Apple warns of potential ‘material’ financial damage from European tax probe – April 29, 2015
Apple may have to pay Ireland 10 years of back taxes – April 30, 2015
EU’s plans to tackle corporate tax avoidance hits first roadblocks — February 12, 2015
Ireland’s Prime Minister: Apple has nothing to fear from end of ‘Double Irish’ tax avoidance strategy – November 4, 2014


  1. As the Brexit decision looms, the U.K. will be watching the outcome of this ruling closely. The “commissars” of the European Union should consider carefully what message they want to be sending to the U.K. body politic.

  2. Clearly, the EU is at the point of desperation in their attempt to find something/anything wrong with Apple’s taxes paid in Ireland. Their decision has been ‘pending’ for a couple years now with nothing resulting. They may be finding nothing, or what little they have may be so flimsy or vacuous that they recognize it would fail on appeal.

    IMHO this has been all about the eternal search for funds by governments reluctant to analyze and solve their own spending problems. They look outside themselves for cash and pick on the big, fat targets first. These days that is specifically Apple.

    Meanwhile, are their real tax cheaters in the EU? Of course. But they play the ca$h-as-influence game. Apple does NOT and I hope they never do.

    Apple, I continue to say, is the ethical company (despite the current bumbling). They prove that time and again. If they ever fall into the biznizz-as-parasite game, expect my person wrath in return, whatever that’s worth.

    1. and people ask “What is wrong with big government?”
      This right here is a prime example. stealing more and more money from everyone until they bankrupt all of us.

      The EU should be strung up from the gallows and then shot. Naa, too good for them.

  3. It will be interesting if ultimately they just shoot themselves in the foot, resulting in Apple pullback from Ireland, loss of Irish jobs, more people on the government dole, etc. In the end they can’t have their cake and eat it too. Very few do.

      1. Correction, Ireland is not a tax haven. Its a country that charges all company profits – regardless of business size, type or ownership at 12.5%. That’s the deal. Apple employs 5,500 people in Ireland – mostly in Finance, Support and Logistics roles.

  4. It may have been legal under on the margins of Irish law but not under EU regulations. Any country that imposes a 28 % VAT so that it can reduce company to 12.5 % is despicable .

    Plenty of things that were legal are now illegal just as things that were illegal are now legal.

    1. Peter, VAT in Ireland is charged at 23% for (most) goods and 13.5% for services. The top rate has fluctuated between 20% and 25% over the past 30 years, so its a long standing approach.
      Ireland is a small island economy competing with much larger EU countries for investment and jobs, and hence has had to design a tax system that is attractive to investors. In 1981, a 10% corporation tax regime was introduced for manufacturing companies. This was successful in attracting investment and jobs and was later extended to financial services companies. The 12.5% corporation tax rate (applies to trading income – investment income is charged 25% tax) was introduced in 2003 after the EU ruled that Ireland could not charge manufacturing and financial services companies less than than any other kind of enterprise.

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