Ireland says EU demand that Apple pay it €13 billion in back taxes unjustified

Paschal Donohoe [European Council]

Ireland’s finance minister said the European Commission’s demand that Dublin collect up to €13 billion in back taxes from Apple was unjustified, in an interview with Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) newspaper.

The European Commission ordered Apple to repay taxes to Ireland after ruling last year that the US technology company paid so little tax on its Ireland-based operations that it amounted to state aid.

EU says Apple must repay €13 billion over ‘illegal’ Irish tax deal

The European Commission said on Tuesday (30 August) that US tech company Apple must repay €13 billion in back taxes after ruling that a series of Irish tax deals were illegal.

In the interview, extracts from which the FAZ published on Wednesday, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the tax rules from which Apple benefited had been available to all and were not tailored for the US technology giant. They did not violate European or Irish law, he added.

The Irish government has said it will collect the money pending an appeal of the ruling by Apple, but Donohoe said it was not Dublin’s job and the request was not justified.

“We are not the global tax collector for everybody else,” FAZ quoted him as saying.

The money is currently being deposited in escrow.

Donohoe also distanced himself from French and German proposals that the EU do more to prevent Chinese investors from buying strategically important European companies, saying this would endanger Europe’s reputation for openness.

“We must be very careful not to endanger our reputation as advocates for free trade,” he said.

He also appeared lukewarm on proposals by French President Emmanuel Macron for a eurozone budget and finance minister, saying the bloc’s focus for the next two years should be further developing its banking union.

Background

Ireland set out arguments against EU in Apple tax ruling

Ireland set out its arguments on Monday (19 December) against a European Commission ruling that tech firm Apple should pay billions in back-taxes to Dublin, claiming the EU executive arm has interfered in state sovereignty.

Further Reading