“Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules, the commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years. In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1% on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014.”
The investigation, launched in 2014, discovered that Apple routed 90% of its overseas profits through its two Irish subsidiaries, including Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe.
Both Apple and the Irish government have said they will fight against today’s ruling.“The decision leaves me with no choice but to seek cabinet approval to appeal,” said Michael Noonan, Ireland’s finance minister. “This is necessary to defend the integrity of our tax system; to provide tax certainty to business, and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules into the sovereign member state competence of taxation.”
Apple has also indicated that the latest move by EU would affect how much it invests in Europe and how many people it employs in the region.
“Apple follows the law and pays all of the taxes we owe wherever we operate. We will appeal, and we are confident the decision will be overturned.”
Immediately the news broke, Apple’s share price fell by 1.6% in premarket trading.