EU to accuse Apple of illegal Irish tax deal

The European Union is apparently set to accuse Apple of taking illegal tax aid from Ireland. The aid allegedly came in the form of sweetheart deals that resulted in a much lower tax rate. Apple currently enjoys a very low tax rate in Ireland, and the company says that no laws were broken in their deal with Ireland, where it's been operating for more than thirty years, according to the Financial Times:

Apple, which has operated in Ireland since 1980, maintains that its agreements with Ireland did not break any laws. "There's never been any special deal, there's never been anything that would be construed as state aid," Luca Maestri, Apple's chief financial officer, told the Financial Times.

Both Apple and Ireland deny that the company has received any special treatment. Apple is one of a number of businesses that operates in Ireland due to favorable corporate tax rates. These accusations against Apple will come at a time when Europe is beginning to crack down on tax avoidance by international companies.

What sort of action should the EU take against Apple and Ireland over this tax deal.

Source: Financial Times, via The Guardian

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

6 Comments
  • They should hang their accountants.
  • Article on Forbes by Tim Worstall already denies this and explains how these things actually work: http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2014/09/29/the-european-commissi... Smells like another timely smear campaign now that "bendghazi" is quickly cooling down into wellputtorestgate?
  • Nice find! Explains the sudden smear.. Figures FT and WSJ would be spamming the miss-information..
  • Governments've been drooling for Apple's $$ ... They want their cut very bad!
  • It is not Apple persecution when they are the headliner when the Double Dutch/Irish technique is in the news; Apple is front and center because: 1) They are the biggest company in the world, and they are by far the biggest tax avoider/dodger (depending on your point of view) using this technique. 2) While Apple is not the only company to do this, they are credited in the 1980s with refining the technique to its current form, whereby the company pays little tax anywhere, even in Ireland. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/business/apples-tax-strategy-aims-at-l... ) As such, Apple *should* be the company called on the carpet when this subject is discussed. You could even argue that what Apple is doing is fundamentally *immoral*, but it certainly does not appear to be illegal with respect to US, Irish, EU, or various Caribbean law. I would certainly agree that Apple's actions are, at best, slimy, but, even so, you cannot change the law and punish an entity retroactively; that is not how modern societies work. You *can* change the law, and expect entities to obey it going forward. If the EU wants to curb Apple's (and, yes, other's too), they need to pressure Ireland and the Netherlands to change their tax rules to comport with the rest of their members. Until they do, Apple should be free to tip toe right up to the boundaries of that law.
  • That option 2. State that if they are using the Irish/Dutch tax dodging the punishment for is that well they have to pay those taxes in their country as well. Basically you use the slim ball way you get punished.