Apple tax: Dáil passes motion to appeal €13bn ruling

Government gets green light to challenge European Commission decision in EU courts

Apple tax: Dáil passes motion to appeal €13bn ruling

Image: Oireachtas.ie

The Dáil has passed a motion to appeal the European Commission ruling ordering Apple to pay Ireland up to €13 billion in back taxes.

Ireland will now challenge the decision in the European Courts of Justice, in a process that could take several years.

TDs backed the government motion by 93 votes to 36 after a 10-hour debate.

They also voted down five opposition counter-motions that would have either cancelled or delayed an appeal.

In the meantime, however, the government must still recover the unpaid tax, together with interest.

The money is expected to be held in an escrow account until legal proceedings are finished.

It comes after the European Commission concluded following a two-year investigation that Ireland granted illegal state aid to the US tech giant.

The EU body found that Apple paid an effective corporate tax rate of just 0.005% in 2014 – a figure the company disputes.

The motion passed in the Dáil tonight also affirmed a commitment to the 12.5% corporation tax rate and R&D tax credit.

Speaking earlier in the Dáil, Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the Apple ruling as "profoundly wrong and damaging".

He said the government objected to attempts to restrict Ireland from "making policies for our own people".

"Governments over the years have made clear, as this government has, that Ireland did not and does not do deals with corporates, large or small.  It is not how we do business."

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan also insisted that there was no political input into any arrangements between Apple and the Revenue Commissioners.

Criticism

In contrast, TDs from Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and the Green Party strongly backed the European Commission decision. 

Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said Ireland should be claiming the money.

"This is our money ... The €13 billion relates to €104 billion of profits generated by the Irish branches of Irish-incorporated companies that have not been taxed anywhere in the world."

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan told the Dáil: "We will not move on from it by aiming all our guns at Brussels or at the rest of Europe and pretending we are as white as the driven snow."

But Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said such an attitude would see other companies leave Ireland.

"It is a clear and present threat to Irish workers in the private sector and the funding they generate for services on which we all rely," he said.

Richard Boyd-Barrett of People Before Profit, meanwhile, claimed Ireland was facilitating tax evasion.

"Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party closed ranks to protect the interests of one of the wealthiest multinationals in the world which is engaged in massive tax evasion and was using this country as a base for that tax evasion," he said.