Tuesday, 03 October 2017 09:43

EU may rebuke Ireland for non-collection of Apple fine

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The European Union is likely to chastise Ireland for failing to collect a fine of €13 billion (US$17.6 billion) from Apple which was announced on 29 August last year.

A Bloomberg report, citing an individual familiar with the matter, said the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, could issue Ireland a non-compliance action as early as this week.

The money was initially due by 3 January and the EU had been pushing Ireland to collect, the report said.

Apple was ordered to repay the massive amount after the EU said it had found that a number of deals the company cut to do business in Ireland were illegal.

At the time, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Apple's "selective treatment" in Ireland resulted in an effective tax rate of 1% on its European profits in 2003. This rate fell to 0.005% by 2014.

eu apple

Graphic courtesy of the European Commission.

"The tax treatment in Ireland enabled Apple to avoid taxation on almost all profits generated by sales of Apple products in the entire EU single market," she said.

"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."

Once the money is collected, it is to be placed in an escrow account pending an appeal which may take as long as five years.

States which are members of the EU can be sued in the bloc's courts in Luxembourg. Fines can be levied by the judges who rule on a case.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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