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Ireland to fight against billing Apple for back-taxes

€13 BEELLION at stake in appeal

The Republic of Ireland has signalled its intention to push back against the European Union (EU) over accusations that it's offering a tax haven to Apple.

In August, the EU decided Apple had received €13 billion in “illegal state aid” in the form of the tax breaks.

When the investigation ended, competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said at the time the arrangements “allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 per cent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014”.

In a speech to the EU's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee yesterday, finance minister Michael Noonan said the nation will take the case back to court.

“The government fundamentally disagrees with the European Commission’s analysis,” he said, “and the decision left the government no choice but to take an appeal to the European Courts and this will be submitted tomorrow” (9 November, 2016).

There's good reason for Ireland to try and stay on the good side of the technology industry: Noonan's speech also saw him reveal he's worried about Brexit, because it poses a “real risk to our economy”, with the two countries exchanging €1.2 billion of goods and services each week.

Cases of this sort are complex and can't be sorted out over a couple of pints of Guinness. So Even if Ireland loses the case, it will buy time in which to sort out how it continue to offer technology companies a welcoming home. Which might be the point of the exercise. ®

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