Apple’s €13bn Irish tax bill ‘unjustified’, claims finance minister

Irish finance minister Paschal Donohue has branded the European Commission’s decision that Dublin collect up to €13bn (£11bn) in back taxes from Apple as unjustified

In an interview with Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper, Donohoe said the rules Apple benefited from were available to all businesses operating in Ireland and had not been designed specifically for the technology company. As such, he said, they did not breach European or Irish law.

The Irish government has said it will collect the tax and interest from Apple and will place it in an escrow account pending the outcome of its appeal. However, Donohoe argued Ireland was not ‘the global tax collector for everyone else’ and the ruling was not justified.

In August 2016, the European Commission told Dublin to recover up to €13bn from Apple dating back to 2003, after its investigation concluded Irish tax deals with the technology giant amounted to illegal state aid.

Miles Dean, founding partner of Milestone International Tax Consultants, said he found Donohoe’s comments ‘a little strange given the facts of the case’.

He added: ‘The European Commission has concluded that the tax rulings Apple benefited from amounted to illegal state aid under EU law. As a result of this ruling, Ireland is required to recover the amount in question, plus interest, from Apple.

‘While the Irish government and Apple are appealing the decision to the Court of Justice, the fact remains that at first instance there has been illegal state aid.’

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