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30th Aug 2016

Apple might be getting hammered for billions in tax in Ireland

We'll find out today just how much Apple may owe.

Declan Cashin

EU competition officials could be on the verge of ordering Apple to pay back billions of euro in back taxes to the Irish state.

Apple will officially find out today (Tuesday) if it has breached any European laws in the conduct of its complicated tax affairs in Ireland.

According to the Financial Times, the three year investigation into Apple’s Irish dealings could result in a bill costing the company billions of pounds – making it Europe’s biggest ever tax penalty.

As the BBC explains, under EU law, “national tax authorities are not allowed to give tax benefits to selected companies – which the EU would consider to be illegal state aid.”

The EU has argued that decisions made by the Irish government in 1991 and 2007 helped Apple to minimise its Irish tax bill.

EU competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, is expected reveal an estimate of how much Apple will have to pay back in a press conference later today – but ultimately, it will be up to the Irish Revenue to determine the exact amount.

Apple is expected to appeal against the ruling, as is the Irish government, which has long insisted that Apple doesn’t get any special tax favours.

The Independent reports that any appeal could delay the matter for another five or six years. The paper also argues that any massive tax liability would not jeopardise the jobs of the 6,000-plus workers in Apple’s Cork facility.

The international ruling looks set to overshadow Apple’s unveiling of its new iPhone at the start of September, which is seen as a crucial period for the company to regain some of the cultural cache it has lost over the last few years.

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