Apple CEO Tim Cook with former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at an event last year in Dublin celebrating Apple’s 40 years in Ireland

This morning.

Via RTÉ:

Apple and Ireland have won their appeal against the European Commission’s €13.1bn tax ruling.

The General Court of the European Union (GCEU) has annulled the decision taken by the Commission regarding the Irish tax rulings in favour of Apple.

According to the GCEU, 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.

It says the Commission failed to show “to the requisite legal standard” that Apple enjoyed preferential treatment which amounted to illegal State aid.

Breaking Apple and Ireland win €13bn tax appeal (RTE)


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25 thoughts on “Core Blimey

  1. Harry he/him

    This is the correct ruling as, while Ireland certainly is a low tax jurisdiction and uses that to attract business that would not locate to a remote island otherwise, it has one of the most transparent and equal systems in the world – you pay 12.5% on the profit of companies registered there, no headline rates with discounts or anything else that some of Ireland’s biggest critics use. Ireland no longer allows brass plate holding companies either, and does not want or need this kind of negative publicity. But do have the right to attract industry with a low tax rate to create jobs given that they are a small peripheral country. An EU wide corporate tax rate will benefit central Europe only.

    The initial ruling could have been seen as an attempt to lay the blame of the difficulties in taxing multinational corporations on Ireland. A simple solution to a complex problem rarely every works. This problem has existed for over 100 years since the Vestey family decided they did not want to pay tax in the UK, but has become more pronounced in the last decade due to increased globalization.

    Multinationals simply ensure that their subsidiaries in high tax countries are unprofitable by shifting group expenses there, through consultant fees for example, and move profits to holding companies in low tax countries. This is an international problem that requires an international solution and the onus is to be put on multinationals who with their thousands of lawyers and accountants remain responsible for this – via incredible pressure (i don’t know what that should look like)

    1. Otis Blue

      Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision, the fact that the European Commission took the case had a number of very interesting effects on Apple’s tax payments. Subsequent to the launch of the 2014 investigation by the Commission, in January 2015, Apple informed the Commission that it had closed its hybrid–Double Irish, base erosion and profit shifting (“BEPS”) scheme, restructuring it instead as the Capital Allowances for Intangible Assets (CAIA) scheme. In 2016, this restructuring required the Irish state to restate its 2015 GDP figures now increased by 26.3% (later revised to 34.4%) as a consequence of Apple’s action. You’ll recall at that time this was famously dubbed “Leprechaun Economics” by Nobel winning Economist Paul Krugman.

      As can be seen from the link below, Apple’s tax payments increased substantially from 2014 onwards. In 2018 and 2019, Apple paid more taxes outside the U.S. than in the previous 15 years combined.

  2. JEH

    Sure, who needs 13 billion euros right now to support struggling small businesses and a critical lack of affordable housing? Certainly not us. All good here. Nothing to see.

    1. Cian

      What relevance is that?
      The court has looked at the legal position and confirmed that Apple do not owe additional tax.

      If *you* want to give money to the government to support small businesses and a critical lack of affordable housing I’m sure revenue would happily accept it.

      1. Vanessanelle

        Isn’t it great to be able to turn your ar5e to that kinda money

        Paschal is the right man for the job as the biggest, bestest, friendliest, most premiership premier Finance Minister in the EU alright.

        1. Gerry

          That is an argument for raising more taxes, which you can make (of course). The point here is that the European Commission tried a power-grab and has been defeated. This decision supports the view of the government all along, and of the Revenue Commissioners. Now if the EU wants to change group tax policy (which I am all for — how can the biggest companies in the world pay so little tax? Is 12 1/2% really too much to ask from the most profitable businesses ever?) they have to negotiate, I hope they do and stop wasting time with this bully-boy messing.

          1. Vanessanelle

            Not arguing that the EU overstepped
            And not for the first time either

            But the Paddys should have left Apple fight it out themselves
            Made themselves available to provide expert witness and the like alright

            I know I’m not going to win the argument, but Apple’s case was sound anyway, so I would have let them carry the burden of the costs
            And just got on with more pressing matters
            Like trying to sort out the HSE or the Housing Agency

            The escrow costs alone were enough to lean on as we wished Apple luck with their case

        2. scottser

          i thought we all agreed that any criticism of big business, profiteering and corruption at the expense of the working tax payer is nothing but ‘woke’?
          it’s the new fascism, apparently.

          1. class wario

            can’t believe the woke SJW fascists are trying to silence apple’s expression of it’s own taxes!

      2. JEH

        No I’m mean the Irish government’s previous statement that they don’t need nor want the 13 billion euros. Sure, what could they possibly do with that much dosh.

    1. MeMa

      I don’t dare to even imagine what The Journal’s comment section on this story must be like

  3. class wario

    I find it very disheartening how reliant our country is on dishing out sweet deals to multinationals. I totally appreciate the realpolitik of it all but I do not care for our de facto tax haven status.

    1. Harry she/her

      The whole point of this ruling is that it did not dish out a sweetheart deal, Apple was treated the same as any other company registered in Ireland. The fact that they paid so little tax is due to their own financial gymnastics that all multinationals are guilty of, wherever they are HQ’d, making this a massive international problem rather than an Irish one.

      1. Rosette of Sirius

        This and I’ve said it before that if the US, the EU, the UK and other EU states wanted to really, really do something about these sorts of ‘gymnastics’ they would. But no. It’s in all their own interests one way or another to keep the status quo.

        1. Gerry

          You’re right, it’s madness that a locally-owned coffee shop (for example) has to compete with a multinational that pays literally no tax.

          I just don’t get it, I can understand it might be tricky and there are loopholes and clever accounting that might sort out say Amazon and Apple (also a problem, don’t get me wrong), but Starbucks, how can they pay no tax? I would really like to know

          1. Cian

            I’d be really surprised if a new coffee shop pays any (corporation) tax. In fact how many new businesses pay corporation tax? How many new businesses are both profitable and debt free?

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