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European General Court judgment only a half-time ruling in Apple tax case – Pearse Doherty TD

15 July, 2020 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has described today’s judgment by the European General Court is a likely half-time ruling in the Apple tax State aid case.

Speaking today, Deputy Doherty said:

“Today the European General Court annulled the Commission for Competition’s August 2016 decision that Revenue had granted illegal State aid to Apple by effectively reducing its tax rate to 0.005 percent.

“This case concerned tax rulings issued by Revenue in 1991 and 2007 which allowed two Irish incorporated subsidiaries, Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe, to pay little to no tax on approximately €104 billion in profits.

“For example, these shell companies recorded profits of €16 billion in 2011, paying €50 million in tax – a rate of 0.003 percent.

“Today’s ruling does not contest the fact that Revenue facilitated tax arrangements that ensured Apple subsidiaries were not taxable in Ireland or anywhere else in the world.

“What is clear is that an appeal by the Commission is likely.

“It should also be noted that such an appeal could be successful at the European Court of Justice, with previous State aid rulings with respect to tax treatment having been overturned by the ECJ in recent years.

“In 2016, the ECJ overturned a General Court State aid ruling regarding selective tax treatment involving the Spanish bank Santander. In 2018, the ECJ overturned a General Court State aid ruling regarding a Spanish tax lease system case.

“It is therefore likely that this case is to continue for some time, continuing to shine a damaging spotlight on Ireland and its tax arrangements.

“It was only after I drafted legislation in 2014 that the Government ended the practice of facilitating stateless companies with no tax residence anywhere in the world.

“This case has never threatened our national sovereignty or our tax code. It has concerned the preferential tax treatment afforded to a multinational over other companies.

“It has damaged our reputation, and will continue to do so. Regardless of today’s judgment, the practice facilitated by Revenue undermined tax fairness. It is that practice that has drawn undue attention to our competitive tax rate.”

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