State Aid Case SA.38373 | Aid to Apple

Author Details
Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2014-2016
Content Type

Summary:

Assessment conducted by the European Commission on whether Ireland's decisions with regard to the corporate income tax of Apple are in line with EU state aid rules.

Further information:

The European Commission announced on 11 June 2014 the launch of in-depth investigations on whether decisions by some Member States with regard to the corporate income tax of certain specific companies were in line with EU state aid rules. Among these, the Commission set out to examine the individual rulings issued by the Irish tax authorities on the calculation of the taxable profit allocated to the Irish branches of Apple Sales International (ASI) and of Apple Operations Europe (AOE).

While the Commission noted the transfer pricing rules were tightened over the years, the tax administration had had a significant degree of discretion in the past. Concerns were raised over that such discretion might have been used in the case of Apple to grant a selective advantage to that company, reducing its tax burden below the level it should pay based on a correct application of the tax rules. The Commission also noted that the number of tax rulings issued in Ireland relating to transfer pricing arrangements was limited.

On 13 August 2016, the Commission announced the conclusions of the investigation. It found that Apple had paid substantially less tax than other businesses over many years, and that the tax benefits granted by Apple by Ireland were not in line with the EU's state aid rules. Ireland was instructed by the Commission to recover up to €13bn of alleged state aid from the company covering a ten-year period.

The Irish Government showed disagreement over the outcome of the in-depth investigation and later took the Commission's Decision to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). A separate application to the CJEU was launched (and later withdrawn) by the European Commission over failure by the Irish authorities to recover the alleged stated aid.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
Politico, 04/11/2015: The test of Apple’s different political thinking https://www.politico.eu/article/apple-falls-far-from-the-lobbying-tree/
BBC News, 30/08/2016: EU takes on Apple, Ireland and the United States https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37218692
The Guardian, 30/08/2016: The Apple tax ruling – what this means for Ireland, tax and multinationals https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/30/eu-apple-ireland-tax-ruling-q-and-a
Tax Justice Network: Press Release, 30/08/2016: Press Release: Has the European Commission’s Apple decision signalled the beginning of the end of tax wars? https://www.taxjustice.net/2016/08/30/apple/
The Conversation, 31/08/2016: Three problems with the EU’s €13 billion ruling on Apple’s Irish taxes https://theconversation.com/three-problems-with-the-eus-13-billion-ruling-on-apples-irish-taxes-64648
The New York Times, 01/09/2016: Yesterday, Outraged by Apple’s Tax Dodge. Today, by Its Tax Bill. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/01/business/yesterday-outraged-by-apples-tax-dodge-today-by-its-tax-bill.html
Euro|topics, September 2016: Is Brussels right to intervene in Ireland's tax policy? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/165282/

News
EurActiv: Tag: Apple Ruling https://www.euractiv.com/topics/apple-ruling/
BBC News, 15/10/2013: Ireland is to close a tax loophole used by Apple https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24542794
EurActiv, 11/06/2014: EU investigates tax rulings on Apple, Starbucks, Fiat https://www.euractiv.com/section/euro-finance/news/eu-investigates-tax-rulings-on-apple-starbucks-fiat/
EUObserver, 11/06/2014: EU to launch corporate tax probe into Ireland and others https://euobserver.com/news/124548
BBC News, 11/06/2014: EU to investigate Apple's tax affairs https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27788238
Deutsche Welle, 11/06/2014: EU launches investigation into Apple, Starbucks and Fiat tax deals https://p.dw.com/p/1CGV2
The New York Times, 12/06/2014: Tax Breaks for Apple and Starbucks Investigated by E.U. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/business/international/eu-to-investigate-countries-business-tax-breaks.html
EurActiv, 20/06/2014: EU warns Ireland it could expand tax probe beyond Apple https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/eu-warns-ireland-it-could-expand-tax-probe-beyond-apple/
The Irish Times, 21/06/2014: Revenue to send fewer tax assurances to multinationals http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/revenue-to-send-fewer-tax-assurances-to-multinationals-1.1840414
The Guardian, 29/09/2014: EU to accuse Apple of taking illegal tax aid from Ireland, reports say https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/29/eu-accuse-apple-illegal-tax-aid-ireland-reports
EurActiv, 29/09/2014: Apple faces hefty fine for Irish tax talks https://www.euractiv.com/section/euro-finance/news/apple-faces-hefty-fine-for-irish-tax-talks/
BBC News, 29/09/2014: EU to decry Apple's Irish tax deal https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29406438
BBC News, 30/09/2014: Apple's Irish tax deal may be state aid, says Europe http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29423244
Deutsche Welle, 30/09/2014: EU sets out case against Apple tax deals https://p.dw.com/p/1DNHK
The New York Times, 30/09/2014: Europeans Accuse Ireland of Giving Apple Illegal Tax Break https://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/business/international/european-commission-report-warns-ireland-over-tax-treatment-of-apple.html
EurActiv, 30/04/2015: Apple says EU probe of Irish tax policy could be ‘material’ https://www.euractiv.com/section/competition/news/apple-says-eu-probe-of-irish-tax-policy-could-be-material/
Bloomberg, 04/09/2015: Ireland Seen Losing Apple Tax Skirmish, Triggering Legal Battle https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-04/ireland-seen-losing-apple-tax-skirmish-triggering-legal-battle-ie5qis52
EUObserver, 10/11/2015: EU to rule on Apple tax deals this year https://euobserver.com/economic/131038
EUObserver, 30/08/2016: Apple ordered to repay a record €13 billion to Ireland https://euobserver.com/economic/134809
BBC News, 30/08/2016: Apple should repay Ireland 13bn euros, European Commission rules https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37220799
The Wall Street Journal, 30/08/2016: Apple Ordered by EU to Repay $14.5 Billion in Irish Tax Breaks https://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-received-14-5-billion-in-illegal-tax-benefits-from-ireland-1472551598
The Guardian, 30/08/2016: Apple ordered to pay €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/30/apple-pay-back-taxes-eu-ruling-ireland-state-aid
The Independent (UK), 30/08/2016: Apple tax: EU orders firm to pay Ireland record £11bn penalty over 'sweetheart' deal https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/apple-tax-ireland-eu-11bn-european-commission-sweetheart-deal-europe-latest-a7216126.html
The Irish Times, 30/08/2016: Apple says EU ruling will hit investment, job-creation in Europe https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/apple-says-eu-ruling-will-hit-investment-job-creation-in-europe-1.2772963
Euronews, 30/08/2016: Apple ordered to pay 13bn euro tax bill to Ireland, both to appeal https://www.euronews.com/2016/08/30/eu-regulators-order-tech-giant-apple-to-pay-up-to-13-billion-euros-in-back
Politico, 30/08/2016: Margrethe Vestager slams Apple with €13 billion tax bill https://www.politico.eu/article/margrethe-vestager-slams-apple-with-e13-billion-tax-bill/
The New York Times, 30/08/2016: Apple Owes $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes to Ireland, E.U. Says http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/31/technology/apple-tax-eu-ireland.html
EurActiv, 30/08/2016: Commission’s Apple tax clawback violates Irish sovereignty, claims Dublin https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/commissions-apple-tax-clawback-violates-irish-sovereignty-claims-dublin/
EUObserver, 30/08/2016: EU's €13bn tax decision angers Ireland, US, and Apple https://euobserver.com/economic/134816
EurActiv, 31/08/2016: Brussels Apple tax ruling reverberates across the Atlantic https://www.euractiv.com/section/euro-finance/news/brussels-apple-tax-ruling-reverberates-across-the-atlantic/

Official
European Commission: DG Competition State Aid Register: Case SA.38373 https://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/case_details.cfm?proc_code=3_SA_38373
European Commission: Press Release, 11/06/2014: State aid: Commission investigates transfer pricing arrangements on corporate taxation of Apple (Ireland) Starbucks (Netherlands) and Fiat Finance and Trade (Luxembourg) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_14_663
European Commission: Statement by Vice President Almunia on opening of three investigations on transfer pricing arrangements on corporate taxation of Apple (Ireland), Starbucks (Netherlands) and Fiat Finance and Trade (Luxembourg), 11 June 2014 https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/STATEMENT_14_190
European Commission: Press Release, 30/08/2016: State aid: Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_16_2923
European Commission: Statement by Commissioner Vestager on state aid decision that Ireland's tax benefits for Apple were illegal (30 August 2016) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/STATEMENT_16_2926
Ireland: Department of Finance: Press Release, 30/08/2016: Minister Noonan disagrees profoundly with Commission on Apple https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/f9be45-minister-noonan-disagrees-profoundly-with-commission-on-apple/
Apple: News, 30/08/2016: A Message to the Apple Community in Europe https://www.apple.com/ie/customer-letter/
Greens/EFA Group: Press Release, 30/08/2016: Apple State Aid Ruling https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/article/press/apple-state-aid-ruling/
European Parliament: Headlines, 06/09/2016: Apple: "Attracting investment by granting tax deals is illegal in the EU" https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/economy/20160905STO41241/

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