EU fine for Apple in Ireland could trigger a transatlantic tax war

Apple's CEO Tim Cook has met with European leaders while Enda Kenny has called the case against Ireland "baseless"

EU fine for Apple in Ireland could trigger a transatlantic tax war

Julien Behal / PA Archive

US Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, is coming under increasing pressure from influential Congress committees to retaliate with tax penalties against EU companies trading in the US if the European Commission directs the Irish government to recover billions of dollars in tax revenues from Apple.

The issue brought into renewed focus with confirmation that Apple chief executive, Tim Cook paid a flying visit to Brussels yesterday for private talks with EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the claims that Ireland gave the Californian company a 'sweetheart' tax deal as "false and baseless."

Both Apple and the European Commission have confirmed that this meeting took place but have not offered any further details.

The European Commission has been investigating alleged selective tax arrangements for Apple in Ireland, over the past two years and the high-level meeting between Mr Cook and Ms Vestager has triggered speculation that a decision is now very close, probably directly after the elections here, or that some form of settlement is currently being hammered out.

Both the Irish Government and Apple say that they have no case to answer and will challenge any negative ruling through European courts.

Recent investigations into Starbucks' tax payments in the Netherlands, and Fiat Chrysler's in Luxembourg have resulted in these companies being forced to pay back taxes.