Economics

Apple should repay Ireland €13bn, European Commission rules

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Ireland should recover up to €13bn (£11bn) from Apple in back taxes, the European Commission has ruled.

After a three-year investigation, it has concluded that the US firm’s tax benefits are illegal.

The Commission said Ireland enabled the company to pay substantially less than other businesses, in effect paying a corporate tax rate of no more than 1%.

Ireland and Apple both said they disagreed with the decision and would appeal against it.

“Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” said Commissioner Margarethe Vestager.

“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,” she added.

The standard rate of Irish corporate tax is 12.5%. The Commissions’s investigation concluded that Apple had effectively paid 1% tax on its European profits in 2003 and about 0.005% in 2014.

Ms Vestager said that the tax agreement reached between Ireland and Apple meant that the company’s taxable profits “did not correspond to economic reality”.

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