State Aid Case SA.38373 | Aid to Apple

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


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 A separate application to the CJEU was launched (and later withdrawn) by the European Commission over failure by the Irish authorities to recover the alleged stated aid.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
BBC News, 30/08/2016: EU takes on Apple, Ireland and the United States
The Guardian, 30/08/2016: The Apple tax ruling – what this means for Ireland, tax and multinationals
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?
The Conversation, 31/08/2016: Three problems with the EU’s €13 billion ruling on Apple’s Irish taxes
The New York Times, 01/09/2016: Yesterday, Outraged by Apple’s Tax Dodge. Today, by Its Tax Bill.
Euro|topics, September 2016: Is Brussels right to intervene in Ireland's tax policy?

EurActiv: Tag: Apple Ruling
BBC News, 15/10/2013: Ireland is to close a tax loophole used by Apple
EurActiv, 11/06/2014: EU investigates tax rulings on Apple, Starbucks, Fiat
EUObserver, 11/06/2014: EU to launch corporate tax probe into Ireland and others
BBC News, 11/06/2014: EU to investigate Apple's tax affairs
Deutsche Welle, 11/06/2014: EU launches investigation into Apple, Starbucks and Fiat tax deals
The New York Times, 12/06/2014: Tax Breaks for Apple and Starbucks Investigated by E.U.
EurActiv, 20/06/2014: EU warns Ireland it could expand tax probe beyond Apple
The Irish Times, 21/06/2014: Revenue to send fewer tax assurances to multinationals
The Guardian, 29/09/2014: EU to accuse Apple of taking illegal tax aid from Ireland, reports say
EurActiv, 29/09/2014: Apple faces hefty fine for Irish tax talks
BBC News, 29/09/2014: EU to decry Apple's Irish tax deal
BBC News, 30/09/2014: Apple's Irish tax deal may be state aid, says Europe
Deutsche Welle, 30/09/2014: EU sets out case against Apple tax deals
The New York Times, 30/09/2014: Europeans Accuse Ireland of Giving Apple Illegal Tax Break
EurActiv, 30/04/2015: Apple says EU probe of Irish tax policy could be ‘material’
Bloomberg, 04/09/2015: Ireland Seen Losing Apple Tax Skirmish, Triggering Legal Battle
EUObserver, 10/11/2015: EU to rule on Apple tax deals this year
EUObserver, 30/08/2016: Apple ordered to repay a record €13 billion to Ireland
BBC News, 30/08/2016: Apple should repay Ireland 13bn euros, European Commission rules
The Wall Street Journal, 30/08/2016: Apple Ordered by EU to Repay $14.5 Billion in Irish Tax Breaks
The Guardian, 30/08/2016: Apple ordered to pay €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws
The Independent (UK), 30/08/2016: Apple tax: EU orders firm to pay Ireland record £11bn penalty over 'sweetheart' deal
The Irish Times, 30/08/2016: Apple says EU ruling will hit investment, job-creation in Europe
Euronews, 30/08/2016: Apple ordered to pay 13bn euro tax bill to Ireland, both to appeal
Politico, 30/08/2016: Margrethe Vestager slams Apple with €13 billion tax bill
The New York Times, 30/08/2016: Apple Owes $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes to Ireland, E.U. Says
EurActiv, 30/08/2016: Commission’s Apple tax clawback violates Irish sovereignty, claims Dublin
EUObserver, 30/08/2016: EU's €13bn tax decision angers Ireland, US, and Apple
EurActiv, 31/08/2016: Brussels Apple tax ruling reverberates across the Atlantic

European Commission: DG Competition State Aid Register: Case 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)
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
European Commission: Press Release, 30/08/2016: State aid: Ireland gave illegal tax benefits to Apple worth up to €13 billion
European Commission: Statement by Commissioner Vestager on state aid decision that Ireland's tax benefits for Apple were illegal (30 August 2016)
Ireland: Department of Finance: Press Release, 30/08/2016: Minister Noonan disagrees profoundly with Commission on Apple
Apple: News, 30/08/2016: A Message to the Apple Community in Europe
Greens/EFA Group: Press Release, 30/08/2016: Apple State Aid Ruling
European Parliament: Headlines, 06/09/2016: Apple: "Attracting investment by granting tax deals is illegal in the EU"

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