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Apple’s tax arrangements in Ireland aren’t a sweetheart deal between the iPhone maker and Dublin, the Irish government has insisted in its fight with competition officials in Brussels.
On Monday, the Irish government said in its challenge against the European Commission—which ruled that Apple should pay Ireland €13 billion (£11.1 billion) in back taxes—that it “does not do deals with taxpayers,” adding that the country “did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple.”
The commission’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, said in August: “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies—this is illegal under EU state aid rules.” But Ireland’s finance ministry countered that “the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no state aid was provided.”
In an eight-point rebuttal of Vestager’s allegations against the Irish government’s deal with Apple, it said that the commission had “exceeded its powers and interfered with national tax sovereignty.” Ireland’s finance ministry added: “The commission has no competence, under state aid rules, unilaterally to substitute its own view of the geographic scope and extent of the member state’s tax jurisdiction for those of the member state itself.”
It said that Vestager’s office:
mischaracterises the activities and responsibilities of the Irish branches of ASI [Apple Sales International] and AOE [Apple Operations Europe]. These branches carried out routine functions, but all important decisions within ASI and AOE were made in the USA, and the profits deriving from these decisions were not properly attributable to the Irish branches of ASI and AOE.
Apple has also appealed against the decision. On Monday, it accused the EC of “selectively” targeting Apple. The tech giant claimed: “The commission took unilateral action and retroactively changed the rules, disregarding decades of Irish tax law, US tax law, as well as global consensus on tax policy, that everyone has relied on.”
Vestager’s office told Ars that the commission “will defend its decision in court.” Meanwhile, it has now published its 130-page, detailed—if redacted—ruling.
This post originated on Ars Technica UK