Luxembourg to back Ireland's Apple tax appeal

Despite competition for post-Brexit business...

Luxembourg is among a number of European Union countries considering formally supporting Ireland on the Apple tax issue.

The European Commission found last year that the State illegally provided the tech giant with up to €13 billion in state aid in the form of lower taxes, a ruling that Ireland is now bidding to overturn.

A spokesman for the Grand Duchy's finance ministry told The Irish Times that the Luxembourg government plans to make a so-called intervention in support of the Irish government in its case.

He declined to outline the specific aspects of the appeal that Luxembourg would weigh in on when it comes before Europe's General court.

Luxembourg's own tax treatment of the multinational likes of Amazon and McDonald's has also been targeted by competition authorities in recent times.

It is thought that other countries that have been investigated for alleged sweetheart deals will also get involved on Ireland's behalf in what is the biggest-ever EU state aid case.

Conversely, a spokesman for the Netherlands' finance ministry said it had no such plans to make a representation.

That's despite the commission ruling last year that Starbucks had received as much as €30m in illegal tax benefits from the country.

The Irish government and Apple both filed separate appeals following last year's decision. It will take upwards of two years for the appeals to be completed, with the outcome highly likely to then be appealed before the EU Court of Justice.

The battle for post-Brexit business

Luxembourg's reported plans to support Ireland on that front come as the competition between the two nations to become the new EU home for UK-based financial firms looking to jump ship post-Brexit heats up.

Thus far, Luxembourg appears to be in the driver's seat.

Earlier this month, it was reported that American insurance giant AIG had decided to relocate its European regional headquarters to Luxembourg, with Dublin finishing runner-up despite a strong pitch being made by the Government and IDA.

In the aftermath, Minister of State for Financial Services Eoghan Murphy (pictured) called the competition "dangerous", stating:

"Other cities in Europe are being very aggressive in trying to win business.

"We have always said ... we would not be predatory ... that we are not interested in brass plating."

The minister also said that he had raised concerns over "creeping regulatory arbitrage" with senior European Commission official Caldis Dombrovskis.

It also came to light on Monday that Lloyd's of London will choose between Brussels and Luxembourg for its planned EU subsidiary. Dublin had been an early favourite to secure the relocation of the world's largest speciality insurance market. The ultimate decision will be announced on Wednesday.