Ireland Backs Appeal Against EU Apple Tax Ruling

Ireland Backs Appeal Against EU Apple Tax Ruling
  • Parliament voted 93-36 to support the appeal against the ruling
  • "We want companies like Apple in Ireland"
  • Ruling had done "great damage" to Ireland's international reputation

Ireland's parliament battled through an ill-tempered debate on Wednesday to vote in favour of appealing a European Commission ruling ordering the country to collect billions of euros in unpaid taxes from tech giant Apple.

Parliament voted 93-36 to support the appeal against the ruling that Ireland must collect EUR 13 billion ($15 billion or roughly Rs. 95,910 crores) from Apple.

The decision followed a heated debate in Dublin during which Prime Minister Enda Kenny asserted the EU ruling "could not be allowed to stand", insisting Ireland had "played by the rules" when it came to its tax treatment of Apple.

(Also see: Ireland to Join Apple in Fight Against EU Tax Ruling)

The Commission ruled last week that Apple had received favourable tax terms that amounted to state aid -- illegal under its rules.

Ireland's decision to challenge the ruling reflects fears that accepting the windfall could scare away international investment, undermining a reputation for business-friendliness that is a cornerstone of the country's economy.

Kenny has refused to distribute the 150-page European Commission report to lawmakers, citing "commercial sensitivities".

Gerry Adams, leader of opposition party Sinn Fein, spoke out against the appeal.

"We want companies like Apple in Ireland," he said. "But this doesn't mean one should turn a blind eye to tax evasion or avoidance."

The Commission's ruling against Apple was met with a warning from Washington that the move could damage hugely important transatlantic economic ties.

(Also see: US Accuses EU of Grabbing Tax Revenues With Apple Decision)

Ireland's two main parties, Kenny's Fine Gael and the opposition Fianna Fail, which supports the minority government, backed the appeal.

But Sinn Fein, which increased its support in elections earlier this year on an anti-austerity platform, vehemently argued that to do so meant "defending the indefensible".

The party's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said Apple had operated "a sort of untaxed Bermuda Triangle" facilitated by Ireland.

Opinion polls reflected the divisive nature of the ruling with many people arguing in favour of Apple paying the back taxes.

The government claims Apple has paid the full amount due to the Irish state from 2004 to 2014 and denies it gave it "selective treatment".

The European Commission meanwhile says Apple paid an effective corporate tax rate of just 0.005 percent on its European profits in 2014 -- equivalent to just EUR 50 for every million.

(Also see: Political? Mais Oui, of Course, EU Insiders Say of Apple Case)

'Damage' to Ireland's reputation

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the ruling had fed into an "outdated caricature" of Ireland as a tax haven and must be appealed to defend its future ability to attract foreign investment.

"The government's position throughout this process has been that the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no state aid was provided," he told parliament.

"Ireland did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple: Ireland does not do deals with taxpayers."

Noonan also said other countries had indicated a willingness to support Ireland's appeal in the European courts.

Kenny said the ruling had done "great damage" to Ireland's international reputation.

"The picture of Ireland painted by the Commission in this decision as a country prepared to play fast and loose with the law to gain unfair advantage could not be more damaging or further from the truth," he said.

(Also see: Apple CEO Calls EU Ruling on Irish Tax Deal 'Total Political Crap')

Apple has had a base in the southern city of Cork since 1980 and employs nearly 6,000 people in Ireland, through which it routes its international sales totalling billions.

The debate coincided with the much-hyped launch in San Francisco of Apple's latest-generation products, designed to cement its place as the world's most valuable company.

Among other innovations, the company unveiled two upgraded models of its flagship smartphone and improvements to its Series 2 watch.


For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Further reading: Apple, Ireland, EU, European Union, Tim Cook
Spacecom, Xinwei Eye Amended Takeover Deal After Satellite Destroyed
iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus Have the Best Battery Life of Any iPhone: Apple

Related Stories

Share on Facebook Tweet Snapchat Share Reddit Comment




© Copyright Red Pixels Ventures Limited 2022. All rights reserved.
Listen to the latest songs, only on