EU goes on attack over Apple’s Irish ‘state aid’


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European regulators laid out their concerns about Apple’s “sweetheart” tax deals in Ireland yesterday as they investigate claims the iPhone giant has potentially benefitted from billions of euros in illegal state aid.

The European Commission opened an in-depth investigation into Apple’s arrangements in Ireland in June as part of a wider probe into whether Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands unfairly favour multinationals including Starbucks and Fiat. Yesterday the commission published a letter it sent to Dublin at the time that details tax deals it believes could have broken EU laws by giving a “selective”  advantage to Apple.

Brussels is questioning Irish tax authority rulings which allowed two of Apple’s Irish-registered subsidiaries to declare combined annual taxable profits of just €40m to €80m. Those arrangements save the tech giant billions of dollars in tax each year, analysts said. If proved, the EU can reclaim illegal state aid going back for 10 years.

Apple says it pays all required taxes and has “never” received state aid from Ireland, where its international HQ is based. The Irish Government denied breaking any rules.