An Apple A Day

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From top: CNBC’s David Faber interviews Michael Noonan  yesterday; Anne Marie McNally

Our most senior finance official can’t see why a company that routes billions upon billions of euros through our country should have a liability regarding that transaction.

Anne Marie McNally writes:

I’m going to go right ahead and assume that by now you are aware of the EU Commission’s ruling that Apple owes Ireland Inc. somewhere in the region of €13 billion in tax liabilities based on profits routed through Ireland from sales in other countries in order to avoid tax liabilities.

Basically, as per the ruling: “if you buy an iPhone in Berlin or Rome you contractually buy it from Apples Sales International in Cork.

In the exceptionally strongly worded ruling from the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, she stated that “Irish tax rulings to Apple are illegal State aid… with effective taxation as low as 0.005.”

Essentially for every one million euro of profit made in 2014 they paid an effective tax rate of 0.005%...it wasn’t just a sweet deal; it was an overdose of sweet akin to falling into Willy Wonka’s chocolate river.

In the immediate aftermath of the ruling, debate raged across Ireland regarding our treatment of multi-nationals with regards to tax. Many pointed to the jobs apple have created in Cork while others pointed to the loss of €13 billion in tax revenue that we could have had.

It appeared that most people lamented the arrangements but some felt they were justified in the circumstances while others disagreed.

In the middle of it all was the reality of an Ireland that is in hock to Europe for generations to come and a society that has spent the relevant years trying to weather the cruellest of cuts – cuts that have left us in the midst of a housing and homeless crisis, a health service on its knees and a rate of child poverty that continues to rise.

Those very real effects from an economy that should have benefitted from appropriate tax revenues cannot be overstated.

The jobs Apple have created in Ireland are undoubtedly important but so too are the 7 out of every 10 jobs that exist in small and medium companies here in Ireland – many of which were forced to go to the wall during the recession when no sweet deals or any type of reliefs were available to them.

But rather than be outraged or contrite in the face of such a definitive ruling, our Minister for Finance and, by extension, our Government immediately declared the intention to appeal the Commission’s ruling!

Minister Noonan is saying we will spend an unspecified but obviously obscene amount of money fighting the decision that we are owed money from a multi-national firm worth hundreds of billions.

In an interview on the American CNBC outlet yesterday afternoon Minister Noonan said: “On the back of my Apple iPhone it says designed in California and made in China” and therefore he couldn’t see why Ireland would tax it.

Really?

The most senior finance official in the country can’t see why a company that routes billions upon billions of euros through our country should have a liability regarding that transaction? Well that’s reassuring, eh?

Though is it really all that surprising? The same man who quite literally rolled out the red carpet and the dancing girls when Donald Trump suggestively cocked an eyebrow in his direction certainly appears to have a fondness for selling ourselves out at the faintest sniff of American influence.

The Minister’s attitude is not entirely different to the Irish Government’s attitude to the US use of Shannon airport (ironically the same airport where Trump’s red carpet welcome happened) for its war efforts in the Middle East: “But shure they’re only using us to route through so we can’t really interfere now can we, and…well, they’re American y’know?”

This laissez-faire, hands-off approach serves no purpose but to perpetuate that old schtick routine whereby we cower in awe of those big important Americans and all the benefits that they can bestow on us lowly auld Irish dimwit cousins.

I’m not denying the existence of many of those very real benefits but we can’t close our eyes and pretend we accrue them without paying very real prices.

The term effective corporation tax rate requires examination. 0.005% may prove effective for Apple but it certainly isn’t in any way effective for us and we cannot continue to kid ourselves that our system is either transparent or fair.

No doubt this is a debate that has only just begun but while we argue back and forth, our Government will commence a legal appeal that will cost us – you and me- a small fortune in order to say we are NOT owed money.

Now if that isn’t a double Irish, I don’t know what is!

Anne Marie McNally is a founding member of the Social Democrats. Follow Anne Marie on Twitter: @amomcnally

Top pic: CNBC

130 thoughts on “An Apple A Day

  1. Kolmo

    Some of us are under a grave misapprehension that Government in Ireland, probably since the Act of Union in 1800, works for the benefit of those being governed – does it fk.

  2. Owen C

    In fairness, the Soccies have never been particularly interested in long term industrial and economic policy, so this post from Amo makes sense.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Actually, the economy is central to their vision, but you go ahead and use this opinion piece on Apple stealing €13billion from the people of Ireland to score crass partisan points against a political party that has existed for 13 months. Lackey.

      1. Leopold Gloom

        They didn’t really steal 13 billions from Just Ireland. They’ve been stealing it EU wide. Should be taxed at source. Profits from sales in Germany, France, UK etc should be taxable there and not rerouted here even if it is at the actual tax rate.

        This is nothing compared to what happens in Delaware though

        1. Leopold Gloom

          Delaware is a massive Tax Haven. Both Clinton and Trump have offices there along with around 250000 other companies.

          Google, Apple, Walmart, a load of banks etc etc all have registered offices there. Often with just some token employees. Of course that’s okay

          https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/06/panama-papers-us-tax-havens-delaware

          https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/aug/11/google-alphabet-delaware-tax-loophole

          https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/aug/11/google-alphabet-delaware-tax-loophole

        1. Tish Mahorey

          Little Blueshirts became hipsters once their art school friends led the way and declared it safe for posh kids.

          1. Owen C

            Ok. Don’t have any art school friends. Doubt I’m a posh kid. No affiliation to FG. But yeah, you keep looking for the blueshirts under the bed, ok?

      1. Vector

        Is it possible to get through just one semi intelligent debate on this site without the phrase “Blueshirt” being rolled the second someone disagrees with your point of view. It is beyond tedious and is devaluing Broadsheet as a forum discussions around politics in Ireland. Maybe try coming up with an actual counterargument as opposed to resorting to name calling for a change.

        1. Kieran NYC

          “Is it possible to get through just one semi intelligent debate on this site without the phrase “Blueshirt” being rolled the second someone disagrees with your point of view.”

          Nope. The same old trolls have the same arguments day in, day out. Often using multiple usernames to troll even harder, it seems. An Emotional Tish laid it all out the other day.

          Broadsheet know it goes on, but only seem to value the clicks.

    2. Barry the Hatchet

      I think the policy itself is not the biggest issue here. If FF and FG’s long-term industrial and economic policy involves levying a tax rate of less than 1% on companies like Apple, that’s fine. It’s their prerogative to have such a policy. And it is our right, as a sovereign people, to question it and to decide if we want to elect politicians espousing such a policy.

      The biggest problem here is the denial of that opportunity. This policy was a massive secret. And it wasn’t just a secret by omission. Successive Governments have consistently worked to actively conceal this policy from the public. Time and time again they have promised us that the corporate tax rate in Ireland is 12.5% and that it will remain so. This was a lie. A huge lie. They have lied to the very people who give them the authority to implement policies in the first place. They have deliberately worked to implement policies in the full knowledge that they have absolutely no democratic legitimacy. And that is fupping unacceptable.

      1. Owen C

        It wasn’t a lie. It was a convenient misunderstanding. Profits are not taxed at 12.5%. Taxable profits are taxed at 12.5%. Its all about whats taxable. Calculating the tax base is literally the whole point of tax planning. Working out what 12.5% of that is is pretty easy. The complexities, the legal advice, the tax consultants, the tax breaks, the corporate subsidiaries set up for this specific purpose, the government tax policy, the lobbying by both producers and suppliers etc all go into creating the tax base.

        1. Barry the Hatchet

          I’m having a hard time understanding what your definition of “lie” is.

          Howlin – “The Irish tax rate on corporate business is very clear – it’s 12.5 per cent – we don’t have any brass plate companies like others do have. The tax rate in Ireland is what it says on the tin,”
          http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/howlin-defends-republic-s-corporate-tax-rate-1.1687415

          In an interview with CNBC, the Taoiseach also denied that multinationals that come to Ireland pay an effective corporation tax rate of as little as 2.2pc due to breaks like the “double Irish” – in the light of a recent report – stating that the rate is closer to 11pc.
          http://www.independent.ie/business/enda-kenny-income-tax-cuts-will-be-considered-ahead-of-budget-30002762.html

          “Noonan told reporters. “I was pointing out to them that, while our rate was 12.5%, we had eliminated practically all allowances so our effective rate was over 11%””
          http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1027234.shtml

          1. Owen C

            It isn’t a lie because the companies in question weren’t domiciled in Ireland and therefore weren’t subject or liable to Irish tax! I really don’t see why this is so difficult for you to understand. It’s a bit like complaining to the Irish government that the tax rate in Bermuda is ridiculously low. Now, that the Irish government facilitated the creation of a system that allowed ‘stateless’ corporations to exist is another matter. But it sure as shizzle aint a lie.

          2. Barry the Hatchet

            Owen, the above quotes (and many more like them) deny that the Government facilitated this kind of activity. The Taoiseach specifically denied that multi-nationals come here to take advantage of tax loopholes. I think you are being deliberately obtuse if you cannot see that.

  3. Nikkeboentje

    If it wasn’t Ireland, it would be some other country. Also, if one loophole is closed, you can guarantee another one will be found very quickly.

  4. Tish Mahorey

    Someone must be paying into the Noonan family trust fund for the next ten generations for this level of servile loyalty to a company over one’s country.

    1. Maire

      Noonan should go now. Hes past his use by date. With his defence of Anglo and Nama and now Apple his affairs will need to be investigated next.

      1. Joe cool

        There’s also the fact that he looks like he died a year ago and they are keeping get him alive with some sort electric shock

        1. rory

          I forgot: According to The Phoenix (Aug 12 edition), Noonan is been investigated by Gardai over the Grace child abuse case.

          1. rory

            An example of inaction by Noonan (as minister for justice) gets a brief mention in this video. (Beginning at 15:52.)
            I would also consider this video to be essential viewing for anyone interested in the Mary Boyle case.
            https://youtu.be/PSshuss3yOU

  5. some old queen

    So the EU says Ireland made an illegal deal to accommodate Apple’s tax evasion in return for jobs. Of course Noonan is going to appeal that because otherwise it looks like the goverment were in on the fiddle.

  6. DubLoony

    Any chance we can discuss this without the Irish cliches?

    Apple have €230 bn in cash reserves, 90% of it outside the US because they are avoiding tax there too.
    Apple say that they are fully tax compliant in every jurisdiction that they operate in. Technically, they are correct.
    The root cause is the international taxation rules are not aligned. Transnational companies are able to run rings around every government they deal with.

    I’ve no doubt that Alphabet (google), facebook and the rest have similar operations. Given the pain that this country has been through over the past number of years, I find it galling that the government would challenge this ruling.
    It really needs to be explained in a manner that everyone gets, right now, I don’t.

    1. Owen C

      The explanation (which you can either agree or disagree with, but cannot deny that basic rationale for) is:

      1. need to keep control of tax policy, as this is central to industrial policy. The predictability (which is incredibly important) and the decision-making on this coming from Dublin, not Brussels, is key to its credibility with international corporations investing here. Simply, large MNCs have worked symbiotically with Ireland for decades in creating business/investment-friendly, predictable tax policy, often pushing back against EU moves to make it less business/investment-friendly. Large MNCs trust Dublin, and do not trust Brussels (Ireland doesn’t do “tax raids” on corporation’s offices). If this decision is seen as bringing tax policy decision making into Brussels and away from Dublin, companies will be less likely to invest (or simply invest less) in Ireland. Our competitive advantage of friendly and predictable tax policy will be diminished.
      2. this ruling by the EU oversteps into tax policy competence, using competition policy competence as a back door, and tax policy remains a sovereign, not an EU, competence. As such, the government must defend this. Remember, if someone wants the Irish government to increase effective or headline tax rates on corporations, then they need to do it via democratic Irish processes (ie elections). Not via EU diktats.
      3. if we let the EU ‘win’ this one without a fight, they will seek to interfere in other areas/cases involving tax policy. Again, the government must defend against that.
      4. Our use of tax policy as industrial policy has worked for decades. It needs to be defended. It is better to forgo a large windfall payment now to ensure that MNCs continue to see Ireland as a particularly investment friendly part of the EU going forward.

      1. Tish Mahorey

        “Our competitive advantage of friendly and predictable tax policy will be diminished.”

        You mean not chasing up and implementing the law. You simply mean that Ireland is a soft touch for avoiding tax.

        1. Owen C

          Ireland did implement the law. The EU Commission believes this to be the equivalent of state aid. The legal backing of the EU decision is highly questionable (the EU hasn’t even released the full formal backing for it yet!). The question over who is right will be decided upon at the ECJ. Ireland is not a soft touch on anything. There was no ‘blind eye’ involved. It was a deliberate policy to create a tax friendly regime, and one that has been supported at the ballot box for decades. This probably upsets you, but doesn’t make it any less truthful.

          1. andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            It’s still €13bn, though. Would it be worth taking the hit to get THIRTEEN BILLION QUID? It’s a lot of quids. How long would it take for that much money to get into the State’s pocket if we left multinationals carry on as they do now?

            I have no clue about tax. I’m just interested to know.

          2. Owen C

            Its a tough call.

            1. we may not get the full 13bn. The EU has stated that other countries, including non EU ones, may be entitled to some of it. So we could be looking at something more like low single digits. Is that worth taking vs appealing?
            2. This has long term impact on harmonisation of tax policy across EU. We took in 6.8bn in corporation tax last year. We’re on course for 7.5-8bn this year. The Apple tax ruling therefore, assuming some claims from other countries, is probably worth no more than 1 year of total corporation tax receipts. How much of that future tax revenue flow is endangered by a less friendly, Brussels-led tax policy is highly uncertain, but its certainly a non zero number.

          3. Owen C

            by the by, the reason the corporation tax take is rising so quickly? Cos we shut down the Apple loopholes (almost certainly, though close to impossible to confirm this).

      2. rotide

        Thank you Owen C again for a great contribution to this topic that would otherwise just be mindless ‘its a disgrace joe’ stuff

        Would you ever think of doing a weekly column for broadsheet?

          1. Owen C

            whatever happened to Julien btw? Does he not write during the summer because he’s on his enormous academic holiday?

          2. Jess

            @J

            No room for Owen at the Bluffers Inn

            Add a reference to internet mob and Laurens Van der Post, and he might get into Village though.

          3. J

            Jedi Jules is off playing pokemon for the summer. Should be back in Sept.

            The Gospel according to Ger the Bod.

          4. Jess

            It must be terrible to spend your life talking in in-jokes only to discover the only people who understand them don’t matter any more.

          5. Jess

            So frustrated with your life choices you end up commenting somewhere you hate so much, thinking up snarky little comments that you hope will hurt/damage the people you hate, fear and are sneakily jealous of, but that really have no effect whatsoever.

            It’s really so obvious and pathetic.

          6. J

            Hi Bodger.,

            Can you please ensure that Jess/Fionnuala stops harassing me on BS. It is rather worrying. This is not a joke .

            Thank you.

          7. Jess

            In fairness, J, that’s like Julien Mercille or Anne Marie asking Bodger to moderate you for the same reason…

            Are you saying I am Fionnuala (in which case you might like to ask Bodger to check ip addresses first) or are you seeking to have her moderated also for similar reasons?

            Owen, better to feel angry and say why openly than hide behind a pose of supercilious superiority.

          8. Owen C

            Indeed Jess. Though your anger has a touch of superciliousness in it as well I think you’ll find. Your anger is better than other people’s superiority etc. Basically you have become what you hate. It’s quite the dilemma for you. Definitely worthy of a “dear diary” moment.

          9. J

            @ Jess.Thank your for the sudden interest in me , Jess. I enjoy BS and some of the commenters are informative (Owen C) and entertaining ( Rotide, Neilo, Caroline, Ahjaysis). Perhaps, you should address the root cause of your unhealthy interest in me . I feel no further desire to explain myself to you on social media and so shall draw this conversation to its natural conclusion. I wish you well.

          10. Jess

            Best wishes to you too, J, and if you enjoy writing and are unhappy with the standard of contribution on Broadsheet perhaps submitting something yourself would be a nice start and more constructive than just sniping in the comments? Perhaps on a topic rather than the site though as an article on Broadsheet has already been done elsewhere I think?

          11. rory

            “some of the commenters are informative (Owen C)”

            Less informative, more like muddying the waters.

          12. MoyestWithExcitement

            +1 You’re talking about someone who complained about there being a Serbian refugee in Ireland because he’d not seen anything about Serbia in the news recently which must have meant yer man had no reason to claim refugee status; someone who mistakes his personal feelings for objective reality. He just goes on poorly informed ideological rants and the likes of J lap it up because they think ‘3 paragraphs and numbers? And it’s contradicting the liberal whose words make me feel uncomfortable? This must be correct and well thought out.’

            Pretty interesting from a people watching perspective though.

          13. MoyestWithExcitement

            Nah, lad. I don’t derive self esteem by trying to impress anonymous people posting on a blog with misinformed opinions I’ve mistaken for facts. You have at it though.

        1. Jess

          I think in your haste to reply you might have overlooked the words in my comment ‘and say why’?

          I’m quite happy to explain – if she cares to listen – exactly why I find J’s comments irritating.

          But is she prepared to solve the riddle of why she constantly comments on Broadsheet when she obviously hates not only the site but also the contributors?

          It’s the difference between expressed and explained anger and unexplained snotty superciliousness.

      3. rory

        @Owen C
        About point 1 (of that comment rotide is praising you for.)

        If US companies don’t like the Apple tax ruling, why would they desert Ireland for another EU country which is subject to same laws?

        (P.S. I’m not smart enough to think up that question, Namawinelake said it on his twitter feed.)

        1. Owen C

          Tax policy forms part of Ireland’s relatively small list of competitive advantages. If we no longer have that competitive advantage, then, relatively speaking, we are less attractive a place for MNCs to invest. Other countries’ competitive advantages (geography/larger domestic markets being the main obvious ones) will move up the pecking order. We may lose out as a result.

          1. rory

            So are you saying that MNC’s would be willing to move to another country with a larger corporate tax rate than Ireland’s 12.5 per cent?

          2. Martina

            Owen C is just a shill for corporate tax avoidance. We have enough of them throughout the media.

          3. Owen C

            By this measure of analysis, every democratically elected Irish government over the last half century has been a shill of corporate tax avoidance. And therefore so have the people who have voted for them. So democracy may suck, but its kinda what you’re stuck with.

          4. rory

            @Owen
            The people who voted for them didn’t know about the tax avoidance. It only came to light a few years ago, remember?

            Are you going to answer my question above?
            (So are you saying that MNC’s would be willing to move to another country with a larger corporate tax rate than Ireland’s 12.5 per cent?)

          5. Owen C

            Rory

            first of all, it aint my job to answer your questions, so maybe a little less pushy and asky, yeah? The amount of tax corporations pay here is usually a benefit to them vs alternative locations. It offsets the disadvantages of being geographically remote, lack of major domestic market etc. If the amount of tax they pay increases, even if less than in the alternative locations, they may decide the overall ‘advantage’ to them is to relocate some of their operations elsewhere.

            Secondly: “The people who voted for them didn’t know about the tax avoidance”. Avoidance is the legal reduction of tax liabilities. If you think that people didn’t think that part of the reason companies were basing themselves here was to legally reduce their tax liabilities, then you are living in an alternate reality. The complexities and opaqueness of how they went about it was probably poorly understood, but Paddy aint stupid.

          6. rory

            “If you think that people didn’t think that part of the reason companies were basing themselves here was to legally reduce their tax liabilities,”

            Not to .005 per cent. You’re coming across as a pure spin doctor.

          7. manonfire

            Rory those companies arent going anywhere..

            What Owen isnt telling you is that companies also set-up in Ireland because the english language availability and the high skilled workforce (in comparison to other countries..) the corpo tax rate is a huge reson but not the only reason.

            To lure the big guns though Ireland had to get cute with the small writing and thats why the big tech companies are here, Ireland will always lure companies buts its the really big ones that are on the block here.
            Once the word was out they flocked here even whern the EU heat was on because they could save that much money in such little time and the savings out-weighed the potential fines and back-taxes (which they could appeal and maybe win..)
            Owen is just telling you the really cold professional side of things, which is correct to a point and interesting also

          8. Owen C

            “What Owen isnt telling you is that companies also set-up in Ireland because the english language availability and the high skilled workforce (in comparison to other countries..) the corpo tax rate is a huge reson but not the only reason.”

            Owen C: “Tax policy forms part of Ireland’s relatively small list of competitive advantages.”

          9. Owen C

            the issue isn’t that ours is small vs everyone else’s being big. Just that ours is small and losing one of them is a decently important issue.

  7. Seosamh

    Noonan on promissory notes: “The ECB doesn’t give write-downs, their authority has to be respected.”
    Noonan on Apple: “This is huge constitutional overreach by the Commission, their decision must be appealed.”

    1. b

      I can’t think of anything risky about a sovereign wealth fund invested almost exclusively in US tech stocks

    2. DubLoony

      Sounds like hell – Altantic mercantile, multinationals eugh.
      We are a society, a democracy and there is more to being a citizens than just business.

    3. scottser

      McWilliams forgets that multi-nationals invest here because we are in the EU and have access to EU markets. If we left we wouldn’t be half as attractive to the US. We’d probably have to let them base some nukes here to compensate.

  8. Condescending nana

    in fairness giving you spazzers 13billion would be like an heroin addict winning the lotto, nothing good would come out of it. Give it to the Germans.

  9. 15 cent

    if we had charged them the paltry 12.5% that 13 bn would have been fed into our countrys funds. but now because it comes as one big windfall, the EU will demand the whole lot. So our gov. have royally fupped us all over unneccesarily. to say theres no deal is a lie, when it came to paying tax and only 0.5% came in, surely our guys shouldve said “youre missing 12%” here .. instead of .. nothing. . saying nothing.

    as for that decrepit, contemptuous gimp Noonan, on the news reeling off his little cathphrase AGAIN. that cr@p about made in china, california bla bla, would he shut up, he thinks its really clever and sums it all up, but it just glosses over literally everything. i genuinely wish him harm. why not? he’s indirectly caused untold hardship on so many people.

    1. some old queen

      when it came to paying tax and only 0.5% came in, surely our guys shouldve said “youre missing 12%” here .. instead of .. nothing. . saying nothing.

      Margrethe Vestager made that very point in answer to a question from an Irish journalist directly after the announcement except it was from when it dropped from .05% to .0005%

  10. manonfire

    ok here we go again..
    The EU has a pain in its hole with Irelands corpo tax, they view it as a breach of competition laws, this squabble has been going on for years and Ireland has been warned to stop playing the victim considering we have amassed a huge amount of tech companies hq who actually do most of their business in other continents aswell as the mainland of Europe rather than in Ireland, they have a point, this is pretty much the same as price fixing and leaves the EU (where nobody really wants to set up camp due to the economic conditions) a no-go zone, the big EU countries try to lure these american tech giants yet they all flock to Ireland, so the EU wants parity and wants to set down a marker, remember Noonan and co-horts are pro-eu, they were happy with the lisbon treaty which gives the eu power of attorney over Ireland so no issue is off limits for these guys and Noonan knows this, so any use of national sovereinty as a reasoning behind appealling is flawed.

    1. Owen C

      “remember Noonan and co-horts are pro-eu, they were happy with the lisbon treaty which gives the eu power of attorney over Ireland so no issue is off limits for these guys and Noonan knows this, so any use of national sovereinty as a reasoning behind appealling is flawed.”

      Yeah, with the notable exception of tax policy, where we received a guarantee that this would remain a sovereign competence. Its part of the reason we voted to accept the Lisbon Treaty the second time around. So your own analysis there seems somewhat fundamentally flawed.

  11. manonfire

    This could have been adressed much earlier and much more quietly instead it was allowed to play out, Tim Cook was over here last year for an award from Trinity (for what…?) and im guessing the main event for that sojourn was a team talk with a very anxious Noonan who knew the game was up and the ethical side of this tax racket was starting to look very thin, and the reproccusions for Ireland were not looking too good, however he has thrown his lot behind the US tech companies so Tim has obviously promised big things for Ireland who knows, but between the legal end of things money-wise and the shabby PR for Ireland the only real loser here is the Irish tax payer as Noonan will be out of office in 3 years, the EU will get all the money from it and Apple will just drag their heels call in the US justice department to lobby the EU and get awy with a slap on the hand

  12. manonfire

    @ Owen

    “On indirect taxation, the EU coordinates and harmonises law on value-added tax (VAT) and excise duties. It ensures that competition on the internal market is not distorted by variations in indirect taxation rates and systems giving businesses in one country an unfair advantage over others.”

    Courtesy of http://eur-lex.europa.eu/

    1. Owen C

      You refer to indirect taxation when dealing with a direct taxation matter. Literally Apples and oranges. Direct taxation policy, which this entire discussion has been dealing with, remains a sovereign competence.

      1. Owen C

        The EU ruling is about tax being used as a state aid to distort competition. It is not unreasonable to suggest they are using competition policy (an EU competence) to sneak through the back door to interfere with taxation policy (a sovereign competence). It will be up to the ECJ to decide whether this is appropriate or not.

          1. manonfire

            You kind of implied that this was ALL perfectly above board, i think its borderline legal and ethically terrible, the negative PR is also terrible, you would have to wonder about the AG role and the revenues role in this mess, someone had to be advising Noonan other than Tim Cook

          2. manonfire

            Incidently my wife works in a large foreign investment bank (with a tiny office in Dublin!!) and i had almost the exact same conversation with her so your professional take on this is probably elsewhere (Noonans ears) also

          3. Owen C

            Im confused, if it was borderline legal (therefore: legal), what would the AG be expected to do? Everything after that is a political PR decision: cost benefit analysis of continuing with the policy vs ending it. As far as I’m aware, the EU hasn’t even publically released the legal justification for their decision yet, so we’ll have to see just why they were able to view the issue as state aid in nature.

          4. manonfire

            And your right, the tax base is the real loser, the appeal is gonna cost a lot and potentially go on for ages considering the govt is at odds on whether to follow through with it

            Wait, why did Noonan announce to the yanks that were going to appeal when that hasnt even been formally announced??

          5. Owen C

            Just so we’re clear – tax law as it pertains to large complicated multinational corporates operates in a grey area much of the time. I would never imply something along the lines of “its all above board”. Just that it was all genuinely legal in the eyes of Revenue. Aggressive tax policy interacts with industrial and economic policy (obviously), but also global politics given the austere nature of developed economies’ fiscal situations right now. There’s always a bit of risk involved, and its not without possibility that DoF or Revenue sailed a little too close to the wind with the ‘Stateless’ element in particular.

          6. Owen C

            re Noonan yesterday – govt clearly unprepared for the scale of the tax clawback (in fairness, i think everyone was), panicked a bit and ad-libbed through the interviews.

          7. manonfire

            Like i said i would imagine Noonan was very anxious about the situation last year, anxious enough to drag Tim Cook over for a face to face so im guessing that the legal end was starting to get shadowed by a potential PR (ethical) nightmare.

            At this early stage its all speculation
            Noonan on the ropes (radio/tv interview) though so im not too far off with the PR nightmare

          8. manonfire

            for the record i do accept what your saying and you are not wrong in case you think i was having a pop

  13. ben

    Stop falling for Donald Trump’s lies — the red carpet and pipers were a Trump production, no-one else’s.

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