Apple Inc. has been told it will not have to pay €13bn ($15bn) in back taxes to the 26 County state after winning an appeal at the European Union’s second-highest court.
It overturns a 2016 ruling which found the tech giant had been granted illegal state aid by effectively having its tax rate reduced to 0.005 per cent.
The EU’s General Court said it had annulled that decision because there was not enough evidence to show Apple broke EU competition rules.
It is a blow for the people of the state, who stand to lose three thousand euro per head in unpaid tax, as well as the European Commission, which brought the case. But it is ironically a success for the Dublin government -- the ruling has cemented Ireland’s reputation as an effective tax haven for the world’s biggest companies.
People before Profit condemned the action as “state-sanctioned robbery”.
It said the ‘Double Irish’ facility used by Apple to channel profits through Irish ‘front companies’ had been organised in collusion with the Irish Revenue Authorities. It also warned that a new device, in the form of tax-free allowances for intellectual property, is being used for large scale tax-dodging
“Apple is continuing to pay virtually the same tiny rate of tax as it did before the EU Commission Ruling, even as the Irish state was pretending to make sure its tax code was fit for purpose,” it said.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said the tax loophole is not victimless.
“The world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people. This trend is accelerating due to tax injustice. Ireland has been infamous on the world stage when it comes to bargain basement tax policy,” he said.
Pearse Doherty, the Sinn Féin finance spokesman, said an appeal was likely, but the case would continue “to shine a damaging spotlight” on Ireland and its tax arrangements.
“It has damaged our reputation, and will continue to do so. Regardless of today’s judgment, the practice facilitated by Revenue undermined tax fairness.”
Paul Murphy of Rise said the establishment was spinning the ruling as ‘a win’ for Ireland.
“It isn’t, he said. “It’s a win for the capitalist elite.” He condemned those who he said ‘try to put on the green jersey... but at the end of the day care little for the actual people living here’.