back to article Europe to order Apple to cough up 'one beeellion Euros in back taxes'

The European Commission (EC) will demand an additional €1bn ($1.12bn) from Apple in back taxes, according to Reuters. Back in 2014, the EC took issue with Ireland's tax arrangement with the electronics giant – Apple's European headquarters is in Dublin – and accused it of effectively allowing Apple to shelter tens of billions …

  1. Efros


    "News of the decision made its way through the back corridors of power last week, prompting an unusual attack from the US Treasury in which it accused the EC of a power grab and argued that it was acting like "a supranational tax authority that reviews member states.""

    They're just irked that 1) they didn't think of it first and 2) that only US bodies are allowed to act in this way in their eyes!

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Jealousy

      Irked indeed, but there's not a lot that Uncle Sam can do about it unless Apple actually repatriates the cash to the US where it will attract an unappealing 40% tax rate. Same with Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, and all the other large US owned multinationals that don't want to pay US tax rates on their profits.

      With Apple if they repatriated the lot to the US, Uncle Sam would be in line for a most welcome $80billion (or thereabouts). I've no idea how much would be raised if Google repatriated all their profits, or Amazon. Anyway, it's a significant pile of cash, a not inconsiderable number of $100s for each man, woman and child in the US.

      Other companies are going to have to start wondering what might happen now that the EU seems to have got their teeth into a theme. Vodafone famously did a deal with UK tax authorities which, arguably, would also count as illegal state aid.

      We do have to be careful that this doesn't get out of hand; countries around the world compete on tax rates, and the UK has done very well by being slightly more competitive than the rest of Europe. If the EU suddenly starts overturning favourable tax deals between large multinationals and the UK government then that'd significantly reduce the competitiveness of the UK, and also Europe as a whole.

      Not that the EU seems to have a problem with reducing the competitiveness of the European economy. In fact in seems hell bent on making it as uncompetitive as possible. The US too will have to realise that its corporate tax rates are deeply uncompetitive and that cannot be sustained in the long run. The problem for the US is that if the corporate tax rate is reduced, personal taxation will have to be increased to make up for that, and there's many a wealthy political donor well placed to ensure that no politician will ever get elected with that kind of thought at heart.

      1. Efros

        Re: Jealousy

        The effective business tax rate in the US is a lot lower than the 35% the republicans like to bandy about. The average is closer to 27% and the top 500 corporations pay closer to 19%. Some don't pay any GE for example paid not business tax between 2008 and 2012.

    2. TheVogon

      Re: Jealousy

      "it accused the EC of a power grab "

      If Apple should have been taxed this amount in the first place, then the money was never meant for the benefit of the US anyway.

      And it's circa £11 billion they are going to have to repay, not £1 billion...Plus interest!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be expected. The EU is gearing up for when the UK stops paying the Dane Geld shake down money union fees. If they don't then the EU will most probably fall apart because Germany can't afford to keep it going.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So what happens if Apple agrees to pay the tax, and then (before they actually pay) the EU finally comes apart like cheap toilet paper? Who gets the loot then? Would that let Apple off the hook, or would the individual EU countries start squabbling over it?

      1. Brian O'Byrne

        The money goes to the Irish revenue commissioners, regardless of what happens elsewhere in the EU.

        And yes, that does make it a bit 'interesting' to see the Irish government vow to appeal the ruling. We could do with an extra billion in the coffers. The thing is that the government would prefer to have a ruling that says there was no breach of the state aid rules even if that costs a billion in back taxes.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          The ability to attract and retain large US corporate job providers is worth more than a billion in back taxes.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            The issue is Apple didn't pay the normal (and already very low) standard Irish corporate tax. It made a deal to pay even less (something Luxembourg did too when its leader was Juncker...).

            Now, if some specific company gets a better treatment than others, it can be ruled a "state aid" - the government "pays" the company renouncing to taxes - which is forbidden by EU rules. More even so when you're a country that gets more EU funds than what it pays. Yes, you can try to retain business, but you still need to play by the rules you agreed to - including advantages (funds) and disadvantages (no state aids).

            Anyway the very fact that some companies can discuss with governments about how much taxes they would like to pay looks to me something that shakes democracy from the foundations - it undermines equality before the law - if you let someone obtain its own law.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The Irish government got rolled by Apple, not that they minded too much. Half of Apple's loaf is still larger than a whole loaf from just about anyone else.

              But yes, it does sound like state aid. And it does distort competition.

              What needs to be stopped is the movement of profits from one country to another.

            2. MacroRodent Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Now, if some specific company gets a better treatment than others, it can be ruled a "state aid" - the government "pays" the company renouncing to taxes - which is forbidden by EU rules.

              Not to mention extremely unfair to other companies, Irish or foreign.

              Any true free market enthusiast should actually be cheering the Commission, even if they don't like taxation: if there are taxes, the same rules shall apply to everyone, so as to not distort the market.

            3. Just Enough

              Check out who we have!!

              I suppose someone somewhere must have got a shed load of sexy iPads, and the bragging rights of having a swish Apple office on their turf. Cos that's worth far more than tax Euros, isn't it?

              The people who really have cause to complain about this deal is Irish citizens, and every other company in Ireland that pays its taxes at the usual rate. This deal is basically the Irish government telling the citizens that they don't have any need for Apple's money, and giving all other Irish companies the finger.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @werdsmith - US corporate job providers ?

            Are you trying to say that 50 or so jobs Apple created in a shell company in Ireland worth more than 1 billion ?

            Please put down those damn herbs!

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: @werdsmith - US corporate job providers ?

              Are you trying to say that 50 or so jobs Apple created in a shell company in Ireland worth more than 1 billion ?

              Please put down those damn herbs!

              Did I say Apple? Oh, I thought I said "large US corporate job providers".

              Microsoft, Dell, Intel, EMC, Facebook, DropBox, Ebay, Twitte etc etc etc. many of these are EMEA or EU HQ.

              Think it through.

          3. Tom 7 Silver badge

            The ability to attract and retain large US corporate job provider

            that dont pay tax is of little real use to an economy. It merely adds 'value' to GDP Apple have ~6500 direct and indirect employees in Ireland. They all need healthcare and education and roads and all those other things tax levied on the business should pay for. No country can survive by subsidising all of its businesses even though the UK seems to be heading that way.

        2. druck Silver badge

          Brian O'Byrne wrote:

          The money goes to the Irish revenue commissioners, regardless of what happens elsewhere in the EU.
          But then the EU will reassess Ireland's economic performance and send them a massive back tax bill, just as they did to the UK a couple of years ago.

      2. TheVogon

        "So what happens if Apple agrees to pay the tax"

        They are not likely to get a choice in the matter.

        "the EU finally comes apart like cheap toilet paper? Who gets the loot then?"

        No change - it's still owed to Ireland.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge


      Who told you UK will stop paying?

      If UK will want to retain any tariff-free access to the market it will be paying at least more than now.

      30% is lower bound - obey all market rules (like Norway), no right to vote. The price for any of the delusional ideas expressed by the leave proponents is unknown. My educated guess is 80% +

      This is on top of losing the rebate and losing all of the special treatments negotiated over three decades.

      So actually, Leave has shored up the Eu budget - the rest of the Eu should be throwing a party.

      1. Tromos

        Re: Hehe

        If the EU want to retain tariff-free access to the UK they will need to make some concessions. Losing the rebate is massively overcompensated by not having to make the payments we get the rebate on in the first place. Your figure of 80%+ seems to be pretty much all guess and very little education.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hehe

          If the EU want to retain tariff-free access to the UK they will need to make some concessions

          Herein lies the rub: that statement is based on the assumption that the EU wants access to the UK. I'm not sufficiently up in import/export comparisons to know if that assumption is mere wishful thinking or indeed useful leverage in what is certain to be a game of extreme hardball - letting the UK exit without pain in terms of tariffs or red tape would be an argument for others to leave too, at which point the US will have a party.

          Why the US? Well, UK's main role as bosom buddy of the US was to prevent the EU become too much of a competing power block in the world. The EU has already caused pain by creating an alternative currency and by telling the US to actually obey some laws (gasp, TOTALLY unheard of concept for a US company operating "abroad"), so UK's pending exit (and associated loss of control) is unhelpful, unless the whole EU goes to pieces.

          Having observed the way the US operates in the world I am in no doubt that there are already plenty shenanigans in play behind the scenes to make that happen, or to keep the EU participants squabbling with each other instead of pulling in the same direction (although that was always going to be a challenge with the French involved :) ).

          In this context I'm highly amused by the US protesting that the EU acts as "a supranational tax authority that reviews member states" - if there ever was a case of a pot calling a kettle black, this is.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Hehe

        The referendum is over. Move on.

        This has been a public service announcement brought to you by the Committee to Get Over It Already.

        1. Tomato42

          Re: Hehe

          @veti just like we're still talking just how stupid of an idea is to fight Russia in winter (unless you're the Mongols), we will be talking how moronic the decision of UK was to leave the EU.

          so get used to it

      3. TheVogon

        Re: Hehe

        "If UK will want to retain any tariff-free access to the market it will be paying at least more than now."

        Depends more if the Germans want to keep selling us their cars. They have far more to loose than we do...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hehe

          Depends more if the Germans want to keep selling us their cars. They have far more to lose than we do...

          That's not as straightforward as it seems. Taxing German cars would indeed mean declining sales, but the people who would suffer are not the Germans, but UK buyers who won't be able to get a car at a decent price. Not only are car manufacturers leaving the UK already because of the Brexit risks, most UK brands have either gone to the wall or have been sold to foreign companies .. in Germany.

    3. Slx

      The EU isn't levying the tax. It will attempt to force the Irish Revenue Commissioners to collect it and put it into the Irish exchequer.

      The argument is that because Apple allegedly got a special deal that wasn't available to any other company it was a distortion of competition and illegal state aid.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "The EU is gearing up for when the UK stops paying"

      They must have been remarkably prescient given that they started the inquiry in 2014.

    5. gnasher729 Silver badge

      "The EU is gearing up for when the UK stops paying the Dane Geld shake down money union fees."

      Unfortunately, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson have informed the EU about the correct amount of money that the UK should be charged: 350 million pound per week. The rebate that Mrs. Thatcher managed to get was just a mistake.

      What would make anyone think that the UK could have the advantages of a common market without paying? There will be negotiations, and the UK will end up paying £350 million a week, plus a few extra percent for not being nice.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While I sympathize with frustration with companies setting up bizarre structures to pay less taxes, they need to actually go after the loopholes (that often were intentionally set up by governments) verses winning that people are using what they set up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "need to actually go after the loopholes". According to the Commission Ireland broke international tax rules.

      But I agree there are too many loopholes too.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Ultimately though

        Many US companies come to Ireland for lax regulation and English spoken. They are experts at not paying tax even if there isn't "State Aid". The Apple thing is partly historic because in the days when they were a computer company and making their own computers, they did make some in Cork and they even had Microsoft aid to keep them going (before iPods, iPhones and iPads).

        Look at what tax these guys pay in Ireland or Europe (or Luxembourg, Amazon)?

        Google, PayPal, eBay, Starbucks, Microsoft, IBM, BSkyB (Irish subs VAT went to UK for years), Analog Devices, the Drugs companies etc.

        Apple was using an old no longer appropriate loophole.

        1. Slx

          Re: Ultimately though

          Some of this goes way back to 1991 when Apple was a high-risk "beleaguered" company and far from the massive entity it is now.

          For years Apple was very much only holding on by the skin of it teeth. It's only really in the post iPod era that it went through the roof in about 2003-4 and onwards.

          They were still a bit of a weird underdog, quirky maker of an alternative OS and strange looking computers until the iPad and then iPhone launched in 2007 and we got what is now the megacorp.

          The Irish Government would have seen it as 'taking a chance' on a dodgy IT company at one stage. It's hard to believe now, given how huge it is. But, Apple arrived in Ireland in 1980, only employing 19 people at Hollyhill in Cork. This was pre-Mac, never mind iPhone. It was actually in Cork before the first Apple IPO share offering in 1980....

          LONG time resident.

          1. Kristian Walsh

            Re: Ultimately though

            Yes, Apple spent much of this period on death's doorstep.

            If I were a government minister in 1997, weighing up the income-tax receipts for 1,000 well-paid jobs versus the corporation tax receipts from a company that was losing money hand over fist (and I mean losing money in the old-fashioned way of spending more than it got from sales; no financial trickery needed), I'd have made the same decision.

            Back in those days, one of those jobs would have been mine, so this isn't entirely dispassionate, but the fact was that this deal was a calculated risk taken on by the Irish government with the intention of maximising tax revenue at the expense of some future corporation-tax receipts. Of all the manufacturing exporters operating in Ireland at that time, nobody would have predicted that it would be Apple that would become the world's highest-valued corporation - even as late as 2005, the company was merely "doing okay", and at that point I'd suspect the balance was still in favour of the Irish government.

            Apple was not the only company offered this arrangement, but the company's stratospheric profit growth right at the end of the period it was in effect does make it look worse than it was. I've no love for the company that Apple has become, but I think this ruling is stepping over the line of allowing member states to organise their own tax affairs.

            Maybe, with twenty years of hindsight, Ireland's government shouldn't have assisted Apple to remain in Ireland in this way, but that's like saying that maybe, in hindsight, Decca should have signed the Beatles when they auditioned for them in 1962.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But what they're saying here is there was *no* loophole, and they in fact acted illegally. So there's nothing to go after, except the cheating multinationals.

      And frankly, they look like they're doing it in a very moderate and reasonable way, this isn't going to bankrupt Apple and force them to lay off thousands. So who's whining, exactly?

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    Popcorn time

    Google et al are now going to do everything they can to not allow this to set a precedent, they and their co- tax avoiders from the land of the free dislike paying taxes in their own country, giving away money foreigners that should rightly go to their stockholders will hurt.

    If they paid the taxes that they should in the UK just think how many failed IT projects the British government could have.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Popcorn time

      I doubt this very much. Ireland already has a very low corporate tax rate, which is one of the reasons why so many US companies set up their European operations there. But Apple negotiated an even lower rate. The European Commission quite rightly interprets this as a subsidy which gave preferential treatment to Apple.

      I expect Apple to pay in full and tell the US govt to shut up and get on with reforming its own rules corporation, especially the parts pertaining to repatriation of earnings.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate."

    Tim Cook says that the U.S.'s 40 percent tax is not a fair rate, and that's why he stashed money in Ireland instead. Well, Tim, your "fair rate" in Ireland turned out to be illegal.

    This is why multinational companies are pulling out all the stops to get the TPP passed. This case would never see the light of day under the TPP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate."

      You meant TTIP in the case of the EU (the TPP is a done deal on the other side of the globe). But your point does stand.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: "We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate."

      Nothing to do with TIPP.

      Why should big International companies decide how much tax to pay? Governments decide. The small or purely national company is at a disadvantage.

      Tim Cook: Your company is one of the most greedy, but at least you are not as exploitive of privacy as some of the other greedy companies.

      Why is Apple's profit margin nearly x4 on a phone and where are you paying tax and how much?

      I've no sympathy. Shame on the Irish Government too, "aiding" one of the most profitable and successful companies on the planet. Lots of very profitable multinationals don't pay any more tax % or even less than Apple in Ireland by using different schemes. Mostly involving the Bahamas which are a UK controlled parasite.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate."

      "Tim Cook says that the U.S.'s 40 percent tax is not a fair rate"

      Tax rates for multinational companies are a competitive international market and it's a buyer's market. The US hasn't realised that yet. Ireland has.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: "We’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate."

        The USA has realised it. That's why they tax US Citizens and Companies at US rates on their Global earnings/income.

        There are many former Americans who got fed up with having to submit a Federal Tax return every year even though in some cases they'd not set foot on US Soil for decades.

        As for the foreign earnings of companies. Even though they may have paid whatever local tax is due on theie earnings (good rate or bad rate) if they send that money to the USA it is taxed again. Even if there are reciprocal agreements between the countries, there is still some tax due. US Tax is 40%, UK corporation Tax is around 20%. Take money from the UK to the USA and you have another 20% tax to pay.

        These are the sort of reasons why companies like apple keep stashes of money all around the world and not in the USA.

        US Tax law is a PITA even for individuals. We might complain at ours but at least things like Lottery and Premium Bond winnings are tax free. In the US? Forget it. Uncle Sam wants his cut no matter what.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    ' It went so far as to call the approach "state aid."'

    What an odd comment. The inquiry was to determine whether or not it was state aid. So what's with the "going so far" bit? You make it sound as if it was a finding beyond the remit. It wasn't.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who are the taxes payable TO?

    It sounds like they are payable to Ireland, which if true makes me wonder why they are fighting this? Are they worried Apple and other companies will change their tax structure down the road, so this windfall will be outweighed by reduced receipts down the road?

    This would be the first time I can ever recall a country's tax organization fighting for being paid LESS taxes lol!

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Who are the taxes payable TO?

      Sweetheart deals like this are often part of a country's approach to get companies to move to them: "build a factory here and pay x % less tax for ten years". Ireland doesn't want to lose this particular bargaining chip from future negotiations.

      But no doubt, together with Big IT's accountants, they'll dream up some other wheeze.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who are the taxes payable TO?

        Actually, if it was really factories and employment for lots of people... Apple doesn't make iPhones in Ireland, nor Amazon has logistic centers in Luxembourg, or PayPal data centers (and data centers doesn't employ thousands of people...), nor Starbucks toast coffees in the same countries - just like FCA has no plants in Britain and Netherlands. All of them are just some head offices with a few financial people busy to shuffle money around to make them disappear.

        These deals are often done because of politicians interests, not the country ones. Apple would quite probably had no other choice but to operate from Ireland anyway and pay the 15% tax - which doesn't look a deadly one - but when you can fund some politicians and obtain an even better rate....

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Barking up the wrong tree?

    Just so we're clear, I suppose I am a little biased because I'm quite anti-EU. At the very least in its current form.

    But having said that: It was Ireland who made this tax deal possible, Apple struck a deal with them. Even though Ireland was a part of the EU. Now the EU deems this an illegal treaty. So shouldn't it be Ireland who has to cough up the fine? They agreed, while it apparently was against the "EU rules".

    And having said that: biting the hand that feeds you anyone? Sure, I can understand that the tax deal might be against the rules. But it's not as if this is only an issue of profit. Apple also brings in new jobs for EU citizens, shouldn't that be weighed against the relaxed taxation they're paying?

    The way I see it the EU honcho's only smell money. Totally oblivious of the obvious: if you squeeze Apple too much then there's a decent chance that they'll move elsewhere. Which would result in hundreds of people getting unemployed. So are these EU boffins really acting on the behalf of the citizens here? I have some serious doubts about that.

    1. Baldy50

      Re: Barking up the wrong tree?

      'So are these EU boffins really acting on the behalf of the citizens here? I have some serious doubts about that.'

      Me too! Considering a shit load of them are fiddling their taxes too and some paying beggar all.

      1. CCCP

        Re: Barking up the wrong tree?

        I assume, by lack of definition, by "EU boffin", you mean all and sundry not "English". If that is what you mean, "citizens here" makes no sense what so ever.

        It may have escaped you, but all French/German/Danish... citizens are citizens of their own country, just like you are. So stop slandering all 500m by name-calling. Idiot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ShelLuser - Re: Barking up the wrong tree?

      Apple brings new jobs for EU citizens ? Hilarious! You don't know what you're talking, do you ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Apple brings new jobs for EU citizens"

        Oh well, if they are like the Pegatron ones better they don't. Oh wait, we've got lot of immigrants now who could may be made to work for the same pay....

    3. ascii bandit

      Re: Barking up the wrong tree?

      That is one way to see it.

      I am also quite anti EU, but the way i see it, it clashes with my view of fair competition.

      If i had a store and paid all my taxes, barely keeping the skin on my nose, and my competitor negotiated a 50% tax discount, that would be an unfair practice in my book.

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Barking up the wrong tree?

      Apple got a preferential tax rate. This amounts to a subsidy and hence Apple is required to repay the subsidy to the Irish taxpayers.

      Sorry to disappoint but no evil EU conspiracy here.

      1. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Barking up the wrong tree?

        B.b.b.b.but: BREXIT!

    5. nijam Silver badge

      Re: Barking up the wrong tree?

      This is not a fine, it's collection of tax that should have been paid anyway.

  9. Someone Else Silver badge

    Ooooh! Better short Apple...

    RjLoQxC -- because I'm informed that the post "must contain letters". So there's some!

    1. Bloakey1

      Re: Ooooh! Better short Apple...

      "RjLoQxC -- because I'm informed that the post "must contain letters". So there's some!"

      Dear Sir,

      Sitting s******g I received your letters, the more I read I s**t the better. The ground is bare from want of grass, so with your letters I will wipe my a**e.



  10. ecofeco Silver badge

    Says you S.

    "a supranational tax authority that reviews member states."

    Like someone else we know?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Commission

    I would like to draw your attention to the Ferengi FIRST rule of acquisition.

    Good luck !

  12. Jan Hargreaves

    US Citizen working outside the US - Must pay US taxes on ALL income, no exceptions.

    US Company generating revenue outside the US - Must pay.... nothing...

    US companies should have to follow the same law. Or at the very least pay full rate corporation tax on all profits accrued within that country. Close all the stupid loopholes like that they can license their "IP" back to the parent company for whatever equals the revenue. It may not be illegal, but it sure is unethical.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Offshore Holdings

    You would think the US would do something simple like saying you can hold any profits made offshore for a maximum of 5 years then you have to repatriate the money.

    i.e. If you wanted to build up a pot of money for investment that is fine just don't take too long to do something with it.

    In other words, use it or lose it.

  14. Fred Dibnah


    Is she holding two pints of creme de menthe?

    Two Scotsmen in Rome

    1. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Photo

      Green lager and fake redhair: so evocative of Ireland.

    2. Bloakey1

      Re: Photo

      No, its is "genuine traditional" St Patricks day get up. All Irish people have red hair, dress in green and drink lager that has been salted with food dye.

      You only tend to see us as we are on St Patricks day as the rest of the year we are busy being drunk, writing poetry and fighting each other (if there are no English people in the vicinity). If [1.] the English are around we band together and sing songs about the Saxon foe and our wonderful grey haired mothers all the while hitting the aforementioned English very hard with our sacred Shilleghlaghs.

      Oooh, and St Patrick was a Taff by the way.

      1. Never start with If or But.

  15. Stretch

    Breaking News

    Its £11 Billion!

    How'd you like them Apples!

  16. reddiesel

    up to €13Bn + interest

    According to the European Commission press release:

  17. EddieD

    Irish logic

    Ireland are now paying out money to appeal a decision to get them more money...

    Jokes aside, regardless of the company, special deals like this distort competition and should not be allowed.

    1. Slx

      Re: Irish logic

      Not really, the risk to Ireland is that this could spook the horses and cause a massive economic crisis if MNCs up and leave.

      Ireland's general plan is to not rock the boat too much and maybe have some kind of smooth transition period to just flat, low corporate tax.

      The one thing that worries me though is that this may end up being a witch hunt by some of the larger countries against the smaller ones. One would wonder what level of state subsidies various national champions in France, or Germany have benefitted from over the years. Or how much state aided marketing through things like overseas investment loans etc were used to prop up infrastructural companies and so on were used by various states.

      It's relatively easy to go after US multinationals in a small country that's somewhat beholden to the EU due to the recent fiscal crisis that it's just about over. But, lets see how easy it would be to probe some of the large German or French companies.

      The Irish have always been extremely conservative about ceding tax competencies to Brussels and it was one of the sticking points in every EU referendum there. If there's any major issue that impacts the Irish economy negatively, I could see Ireland becoming a lot more Eurosceptic very quickly.

      Simple reality in Cork is that this is ~6000 direct, mostly fairly well-paid jobs in a city of about 200,000 people.

      Morals aside, if Irish politicians don't work to protect those, they'll be out on their backsides and they know it. It's a proportional representation system with a very fine balance of power too, so there is no such thing as a 'safe seat'.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Irish logic

        You missed France EDF was fined for the same reason. Italy couldn't save the banks that went in big troubles for the same reason - and many people lost money when the "bail-in" was activated. And it's becoming stricter because state aids usually turn into more debt and higher taxes for "the others", those who can't deal how much taxed they would like to pay.

        EU is already accepting that tax rates can be very different inside it, but if some countries start to make specific deals for some specific companies taking advantage of EU funds when things go wrong.... remember Ireland was about to go bankrupt just like Greece - another country unable to collect due taxes.

  18. Andrew Moore

    Meanwhile in Ireland...

    Government on Water Tax: People of Ireland have to pay the tax because Europe told us so.

    Government on Apple Tax: Europe ruled what??? We have to fight this...

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