Apple ordered to pay €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws
Apple has warned that future investment by multinationals in Europe could be hit after it was ordered to pay a record-breaking €13bn (£11bn) in back taxes to Ireland.
The world’s largest company was presented with the huge bill after the European commission ruled that a sweetheart tax deal between Apple and the Irish tax authorities amounted to illegal state aid.
The commission said the deal allowed Apple to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, the tech firm paid tax at just 0.005%. The usual rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5%.
“Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” said the European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, whose investigation of Apple’s complex tax dealings has taken three years.
Vestager’s ruling prompted an angry response from Apple and from Ireland and is likely to spark a political row between the US and the EU. The US Treasury said the ruling threatened to damage “the important spirit of economic partnership between the US and the EU”.
Read my comments on “Vestager’s ruling as just the tip of the spear” and full coverage of the “watershed moment” on The Guardian by Sean Farrell and Henry McDonald.