Ireland Divided on Whether to Appeal Apple Tax Ruling

The Irish cabinet doesn’t seem to unanimously agree with Finance Minister Michael Noonan’s recommendation to lodge the appeal, as he disagrees with the EU Commission’s instruction to recoup $18.9 billion in back taxes from Apple.

Apple tax scheme ireland

According to the Financial Times, Irish prime minister Enda Kenny will conduct an emergency cabinet meeting in an effort to forge an agreed response to the aforementioned ruling handed down yesterday.

The problem is that ministers are not unanimous that appealing against the decision is the right action, and some cabinet members aren’t willing to rush a decision ahead of crunching the 130-page argument Margrethe Vestager and her team put together to underpin the Commission’s ruling.

In a letter penned yesterday, Tim Cook was confident that Ireland would appeal against the ruling, as will the company he leads. However, political observers say that if Enda Kenny cannot persuade his cabinet to adopt a unanimous stance, his government could eventually fall, even though it has been in office for just a few months, the Financial Times notes.

Irish ministers insisted the ruling is unfair and contradictory. Irish foreign minister Charlie Flanagan described the decision as “baffling” and said “there are a number of glaring inconsistencies in what the commission says”, according to the FT. But Kenny also needs to convince opposition politicians and a range of civil society groups to agree to an appeal.

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  • MleB1

    Perhaps the first draft of Tim Cook’s letter looked like this –

    “Back in 1980, Apple knew there had to be more than just two people – Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry – interested in the Mac computer in Europe. And insofar as the far cheaper Eastern Europe was not yet available for us to create a manufacturing hub and place to secure our worldwide profits, we decided to go with the next best thing. Ireland. Cheap labour because of no homegrown industries beyond Guinness, and dodgy tax schemes even better than the Channel Islands or Isle of Man made it an ideal place to set up shop.
    Little did even Steve imagine that Apple, the little company that wanted to ‘Think Different’ would become a monolith, wielding more power, wealth and attitude than Microsoft, and all with a range of grossly overpriced products no one really needed. With off-shoring our manufacturing from Cupertino and elsewhere in the US to cheapie places not only like Ireland, but also safety-blind China, the incredible profits we have made needed a safe and favourable jurisdiction out of the US and, ideally, without the EU noticing, either. Where better than the sun-dappled banks of Ireland?
    We resent the EU saying that our little campus and mail drop in Ireland should have been paying fair taxes all this time. Or that we did any special deals with Ireland’s governments that have let us rip off the people of Ireland, the EU or even the US. We feel that in due course, and with frank discussions, crushingly expensive legal proceedings, and using other traditional means of convincing bureaucrats they may have been wrong, we will be vindicated of any such spurious responsibilities as paying what other companies must do.”