The European Commission ordered Apple to pay the Irish government €13 billion (£11.5 billion) in back taxes in August.
But there’s one small problem. The Irish government does not want the money.
Irish finance minister Michael Noonan submitted an appeal to the European courts on Wednesday in a bid to block the decision, The Register reports.
“The government fundamentally disagrees with the European Commission’s analysis,” Noonan reportedly said during a speech he gave to the EU’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Tuesday. “The decision left the government no choice but to take an appeal to the European Courts and this will be submitted tomorrow.”
Apple employs more than 5,000 people in Ireland and the Irish government is keen to keep the Californian tech giant on side.
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, ruled in August that Apple had received €13 billion in “illegal state aid” from the Irish government. At the time, she said: “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies — this is illegal under EU state aid rules.
“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. In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1% on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014.”
The European Commission started to look into Apple’s Irish tax rate in 2014, so the decision was the culmination of a three-year investigation.
An Apple representative said at the time: “The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws, and upend the international tax system in the process. The commission’s case is not about how much Apple pays in taxes — it’s about which government collects the money. It will have a profound and harmful effect on investment and job creation in Europe.
“Apple follows the law and pays all of the taxes we owe wherever we operate. We will appeal, and we are confident the decision will be overturned.”
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