back to article Sweetheart tax deal appeal: European Commission takes €13bn Apple state aid claim to the EU's highest court

European Commission executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager is set to fight to have Apple's tax benefit in Ireland ruled as state aid. In July, the world-dominating consumer hardware and software firm had a €13bn (£11.6bn) tax bill overturned after the EU's General Court said it was not the recipient of unlawful state aid …

  1. TVU

    "European Commission takes €13bn Apple state aid claim to...court"

    Good, not least because Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc are serial tax avoiders and that means fewer nurses, doctors and teachers because the state doesn't have the money to pay for them.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      If we had the legal team and the accountants of these Big Corps, I'm sure we would use them to our advantage. I still don't like it, the tax laws are poorly written in most countries, most often favoring Big Corps. Remind me again which countries have good tax laws for the average joe?

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Remind me again which countries have good tax laws for the average joe?

        Most do, although good is debatebale. So if I were to register a company in Ireland and funnel all my business through there, HMRC would almost certainly argue that it's an artificial construct designed purely to avoid tax. And they'd probably be right.

        And yet we're meant to believe that the world's largest company struggles to make a decent profit across the entire EU, despite cost saving measures like it's virtual Irish office that only really exists on paper. Or that lending it's EU operations say, $1tn is not a synthetic measure to reduce it's profitability.

        But that's pretty much how it works, and generally a problem with international tax treaties as it is national. But such is the wacky world of business. Other shenanigans at the moment seem to be for private equity owners to force companies they own to raise debt so that can be siphoned back to the PE owners as dividends, leaving those companies holding the debt.

        1. peter_dtm

          Actually that is EU law, if you trade in more than one EU country, you get to chose which country your company is registered in, and that and only that country gets to tax your company on its EU earnings.

          The EU wrote the EU tax laws, all international companies base their tax paying entity in the country they think benefits them most in terms of benefit to their shareholders in COMPLIANCE WITH EU TAX LAW.

          Why is this basic EU tax law so rarely mentioned, it wouldn’t be because it makes those nasty horrible companies not look bad ?

          Perhaps you personally don’t do as much as legally possible to minimise your tax, company CFO are supposed to do exactly that.

          1. jemmyww

            Nobody has forgotten this law. It's not this law that is under contention. Ireland are free to create a very low tax regime, and companies like Apple are free to make use of it.

            The reason this is going through the courts is that the EU commission is claiming that Ireland has given a low tax rate to only select companies like Apple. That is the part that is unlawful - creating a tax law that puts other companies at a competitive disadvantage. If Ireland had offered a 1% corporate tax rate to all then there would be no case, and presumably Ireland would have no money or they'd have already done this.

            1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

              in fact, it is not select companies, but select company...

    2. Joe Gurman

      Has Ireland noticed....

      .... a shortage of nurses, doctors, and/or teachers since it cut the deal with Apple, quite a few years ago?

      It would be easy to see this as a legal shuffle between a bunch of soulless Brussels bureaucrats and a too-rich American company, but it's always seemed to me like an attempt by the EU beaucracracy to shove their opinions (not law) down the throats of member states, despite the latter having elected governments. If the EU were a national government federating previously independent states, like the US government, it would have certain enumerated right and privileges, as would the states. As it it, it appears the EU "constitution" is nothing of the sort.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Has Ireland noticed....

        “ attempt by the EU beaucracracy to shove their opinions (not law) down the throats of member states

        Bullshit...

        They are clearly going to the courts to get a judgement based on *law*. A court agreed and recognised by the member states.

        Otherwise they would have been done long ago.

        Amazing how people can’t tell the difference from propaganda and fact, even when it laid out in front of them. Now that brexit has happened, you can dispel with the BS and get the facts straight.

        The problem is *you* are shoving your opinions as fact and there isn’t a court to call your BS.

    3. peter_dtm

      EU tax law

      Actually that is EU law, if you trade in more than one EU country, you get to chose which country your company is registered in, and that and only that country gets to tax your company on its EU earnings.

      The EU wrote the EU tax laws, all international companies base their tax paying entity in the country they think benefits them most in terms of benefit to their shareholders in COMPLIANCE WITH EU TAX LAW.

      Why is this basic EU tax law so rarely mentioned, it wouldn’t be because it makes those nasty horrible companies not look bad ?

      Perhaps you personally don’t do as much as legally possible to minimise your tax, company CFO are supposed to do exactly that.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: EU tax law

        Actually that is EU law, if you trade in more than one EU country, you get to chose which country your company is registered in, and that and only that country gets to tax your company on its EU earnings.

        That's not really the point. Tax authorities can decide that a corporate structure is contrived purely to avoid tax. So basically setting up a shell company that doesn't really trade, just act as a conduit to flow money and avoid taxes. So Apple's sales 'HQ' for the EU was allegedly little more than a name plate and some creative accounting. Some years ago, all of Vodafone's SIMs were apparently supplied by an empty office in Luxembourg. But big companies can hire big lawyers to argue that it's all legal. Small companies can't, so can't compete.

        But it's not just EU or national tax laws that are the challenge, it's global tax treaties as well that get gamed.

        Perhaps you personally don’t do as much as legally possible to minimise your tax, company CFO are supposed to do exactly that.

        Sometimes. Once when I had some free cash, I decided to look into the tax breaks and incentives to finance film production. For a while, that was a big thing with various schemes on offer. I didn't like those, but ended up investing in 3 indie films via their producers.. Which was perhaps fortunate given HMRC cracked down on some of the synthetic schemes that were purely for tax dodging. And I made a modest return, and also got to go see how they were made. Movie magic isn't always quite as magical when you're on a cold, wet location. Still fun though.

        But there's also a risk that CFOs could try to game the system, so simple balance sheet showing the risks of a scheme being ruled unlawful vs gains from doing it, and legal costs to challenge any decision.. Then finally the option to settle any dispute with the tax authorities for less than might actually be owed.. Which is not something small companies can do, and they'd just face a tax bill, plus penalties.

  2. RM Myers Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Apple probably feels the European Commission should be happy

    that Apple doesn't charge them 30% for the time and effort Apple spends preparing, vetting, filing and paying their taxes.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Apple probably feels the European Commission should be happy

      That would be funny, Apple get to keep their Irish tax deal but get hit with an extra 30% sales tax on everything

  3. macjules Silver badge

    We never asked for, nor did we receive, any special deals

    One day Mr Cook, that will be written on your gravestone.

  4. Maelstorm Bronze badge

    I admit my ignorance here, but isn't 1/6th of Ireland still under the direct control of the British Crown? Also, since Ireland is (at least partially) under control of the United Kingdom, with Brexit, why does the EU Commission even care? Once Brexit happens, they will be outside EU jurisdiction anyways...unless I'm missing something.

    1. Slx

      Well, at least you admitted it before you started!

      You’re pretty much missing everything. The Republic of Ireland is *not* part of the United Kingdom, has nothing to do with the Crown and is not part of the Commonwealth.

      For the Republic of Ireland, nothing changes after Brexit. It won’t be leaving the EU anymore than France or Belgium will be. It remains a member of the EU and is founder member of the Euro.

      1. Maelstorm Bronze badge

        Like I said, I admit my ignorance and I was looking for enlightenment. Thanks for that. Not sure why I got hit with all the down votes though. It's not like I was talking out of my ass. Oh well.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Don’t feel too bad, I wouldn’t be surprised if some in the UK itself believed Ireland is part of the UK.Some are still in the 1800s.

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
            Trollface

            They are merely anticipating a decision by the current UK government to say that it doesn't recognize anymore the "Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland"...

  5. beast666

    Turf war

    I don't know who are the biggest bandits. The EU or Apple.

  6. glococo
    Megaphone

    We should propose that those Big Companies with huge lawyer departaments muscle get fined in extra, for the same reason than a Hacker get sued when he do not disclose and exploit a bug in the wild.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      A few simple thing to do:

      - lawyers fees or salaries are not tax deductible

      - transfers between subsidiaries and parent companies are not tax deductible (applies among other to loans and licensing fees)

  7. Hollerithevo

    OTOH

    The money from Apple etc would come in handy to pay for all the border customs checkpoint the Republic of Ireland are soon going to need to set up.

    1. Joe Gurman

      Re: OTOH

      No, I think the taxpayers of the UK, a majority of whom who bothered to show up for the Brexit referendum, should pick up the tab.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: OTOH

        No, I think the taxpayers of the UK, a majority of whom who bothered to show up for the Brexit referendum, should pick up the tab.

        If the Remnants wish to chip in to Ireland's wall fund, I'm sure they can. UK taxpayers will end up paying for whatever border measures the UK wants, Ireland will have to pay for the border measures the EU wants. Such is politics. But there'll also be scope for smuggling Irish Cheddar cross-border. According to the BBC (ahahahahaahahah <cough>), come New Year's Day, it'll be hard Cheddar for us Brits. They seem convinced that food bills will increase by 25% on EU produced stuff thanks to import tariffs. OhNoes!

        Alternatively, the UK may decide to zero-rate cheese, or point keep the tariff and point out it's something UK dairy farmers can produce here. That pesky free-trade concept the BBC doesn't seem to understand..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: OTOH

          The UK government is bungling on COVID which is an easier problem given things like track and trace are an execution only thing. I’m not holding my breath they will get Brexit done any better, doesn’t look like they even checked if their oven ready withdrawal deal was even edible.

          How many Brits work on existing farms? Last time people were willing to pay for local cheese that already costs more? Why do people still buy cheaper food imports?

          Somehow the UK will produce more , pay local workers higher wages that the EU workers were stopping, which will bring these workers to the farms, but yet the costs of food won’t increase?

          So either the UK will produce more that costs more (pay the wages etc), or need to import it from farther afield, so they will either be picked earlier (lower quality) or will not be available (insufficient shelf life in long transport) or has to be flown in (costs).

          Since the UK left the EU, has any claimed economic benefit come to fruition? It’s been 9 months????

          Where are the supermarkets switching to cheaper local produce? Where are the cheaper food imports from further afield? All those trade opportunities bursting at seams?

          supermarkets would have seized the cheaper imports from elsewhere if this were possible, their margins are struggling, so for the very simple reason of profit alone should have made this happen.

          It still is completely depending on the current EU trade structure to keep current costs.

          I got the BS brexit talk for political reasons. at least now get facts straight and start showing the benefits in your pro brexit talk, instead of this lame Bojo style cock bull blabber of brexit unicorns and economic rainbows.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: OTOH

            How many Brits work on existing farms? Last time people were willing to pay for local cheese that already costs more? Why do people still buy cheaper food imports?

            Well, I buy Sainsburys "Mary Ann's Dairy" cooking cheddar. £4 for 900g, and it's their cheapest. It doesn't say where it's made, other than having a 'British Milk' stamp on it. That's also a challenge with food labelling, ie lack of actual origin and Mary Ann probably only existing in Sainsbury's marketing department. Cheaper food imports is perhaps something to see after Jan 1st, but also consider things like the British classic, HP sauce. Production exported to the Netherlands, but price didn't reduce.

            Where are the supermarkets switching to cheaper local produce? Where are the cheaper food imports from further afield? All those trade opportunities bursting at seams?

            Supermarkets undoubtedly have plans for product replacement or supplier replacement, especially if it benefits their own brand lines. But the rest relies on trade deals, and those are currently semi- on hold until Jan 1st. But in theory, Japanese products will become cheaper once their FTA is in effect. Then there may be things like FTAs with our Commonwealth partners like Australia and New Zealand. Their agricultural sector was hammered by the UK joining the EU, and the EU's 20%ish tariff wall.

            So that may mean cheaper NZ lamb or butter, or not if the UK decides to protect UK producers. But that will be the UK's decision, not the EUs. Perhaps most importantly, the UK agricultural sector will be free from EU policies like CAP and farm quotas. That bloated bureaucracy costs huge amounts of money, and huge hassles for farmers. Again it'll be up to the UK to decide any subsidies, quotas, protection measures & potentially save millions by not having to try and administer CAP on the EU's behalf.. Plus of course not having to throw money at the EU because a fair chunk of their budget goes towards agriculture.

            And getting back to the topic, there's that huge white elephant with rounded corners. Ireland's been able to attract deals like Apple due to it's low corporation tax. The UK may be able to offer similar deals to attract business like that to the UK, which is one of those things that terrifies the EU, and why they're trying to impose their 'level playing field' restrictions.. But inside the EU, the field has never really been level, hence why so many jobs have been lost in the UK due to production moving to better subsidised countries within the EU.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: OTOH

              >> But the rest relies on trade deals, and those are currently semi- on hold until Jan 1st.

              HUH? Why? The UK has left the EU, imports from other countries and setting up deals and supply chains is permitted. What the supermarkets are waiting for is to see if there will be an EU deal, arguably because those other supply chains further afield will increase costs.

              >> Their agricultural sector was hammered by the UK joining the EU, and the EU's 20%ish tariff wall.

              Well perhaps at the UK insistence. https://britishmeatindustry.org/industry/imports-exports/sheepmeat/

              "In 2015, over 95 per cent of UK sheep meat exports went to other EU countries."

              Nothing stopped the UK subsidising production here - the simple truth is it is UK government policy to move to services. Goods from Spanish, French and German manufacturing are still being sought here and elsewhere. If anything the EU labour market would keep costs down. Again, what is it - lower wages and costs at the expense of local labour, or subsidising of manufacturing (which in the UK is really the subsidy of wages)?

              As for corporation tax, again the UK has left. It can do it today. Even when in the EU, it could have done the same, as it was part of the EU and could bend the rules as the Irish did, if we go by your argument. Brexiters here are complaining that the commision is correcting the imbalance here and you're complaining that the EU allows imbalances. Ireland was given freedom to decide tax policy but the EU does not give freedom. What is it??

              >> which is one of those things that terrifies the EU

              You're absolutely right - the UK wants the EU to give access to *their* single market, a benefit that other members pay for, that was created through give and take, but at the same time the UK wants to be answerable to none for that ask. Meaning the UK can indeed do anything to its *sole* benefit.

              Who in their right mind would allow someone else free access to enter their house and then agree to let them do anything?? With the UK reneging on the Withdrawal agreement (indeed the amendment tabled asks that UK gov is not even answerable to the UK's own supreme court), the UK is not a trustworthy partner. (Brexit requiring supra-judicial govt powers is a step too far but that's another topic).

              As for corp taxes, the UK cannot benefit from lowering corporate taxes outside the EU - lower corporate taxes are only useful if there is also access to the single market (or a large enough market for said corporate). Otherwise Guersney or the Cayman Islands already exist.

              It also doesn't make sense for large corporates to base themselves in the UK if it starts building a reputation as a tax haven.

              I don't see the UK benefiting economically for at least a decade, assuming all these deals come through and all the UK is nimble and adapt their service industry to these far flung markets or replace it with local industry.

              And if the current UK leadership is anything to go by, they'll be sure to make it two decades.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: OTOH

                HUH? Why? The UK has left the EU,

                Nope, not until Jan 1st..

                If anything the EU labour market would keep costs down.

                Not true. Part of the EU's goal after all is to spread the wealth. So EU labour costs aren't the cheapest in the world. Then there are regulatory, compliance or just policy based costs imposed by the EU. So one favorite example is EU energy policy increasing energy costs, and 'climate' policy increasing farm costs. But that's one of those challenges for the EU. It has it's ETS, or emissions trading scheme that's basically fraudulent.. I mean carbon trading. With lots of fraud. Sadly the UK believes in this nonsense, so there's lobbying at the moment for a UK scam where carbon gets priced at £75/tonne accross all sectors. Which is nice if you can print those carbon tokens, ie the 'renewables' scumbags. For everyone else, it's just a tax. Or rent-seeking..

                As for corporation tax, again the UK has left. It can do it today.

                Nope, not until Jan 1st. Per that Framework Agreement based on negotiating a trade deal in good faith. Which the EU's decided means surrendering territorial waters, Northern Ireland and that 'level playing field' again. Brussels doesn't want the UK emulating Junker's old Luxembourg CT rate..

                You're absolutely right - the UK wants the EU to give access to *their* single market,

                Seems reasonable. After all the EU's negotiated a pile of Free Trade Agreements already. So why would it refuse the UK? And what might the WTO make of such a refusal? Of course those FTA's are another of the EU's challenges. I'm sure more nations will be wondering why they pay so much when non-EU nations can get FTAs.. Which is also why the EU's playing hardball. The UK must suffer pour encourager les autres. Which is also proof that the French can be good for something occasionally. And the UK gave Voltaire asylum..

                It also doesn't make sense for large corporates to base themselves in the UK if it starts building a reputation as a tax haven.

                Hmm? Doesn't seem to have done Delaware much harm. But if domiciling in the UK makes it favorable to a company, then companies should locate here.. As you say, it's a CFO thing. Creative tax strategies also haven't done Apple, Amazon, Facebook etc etc much harm..

                I don't see the UK benefiting economically for at least a decade,

                To an extent, the UK already has.. Pending final deal. So we won't be paying the annual tithe to Brussels. Can't remember if we paid that for 2020 or not, but conveniently that coincides with the end of the current EU budget plan. Kind of, again Framework related, ie the EU may still try to demand some cash subsequently, but again based on getting a trade deal. There's also the cost of Covid, where the UK can spend as it sees fit, and not have to contribute to the EU's response as well.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: OTOH

                  Your response is disingenous - you are not answering the points but drawing up non-sequiturs and strawmans which means the discussion would go ad-nauseum without resolving any points.

                  I talk labour costs, and you bring in climate credits??? An increased market supply lowers labour costs - skilled or unskilled. The UK will have to turn to non-EU markets - they have not managed to encourage local labour in 47 years of the EU.

                  The UK is not asking for "just another" FTA - it is asking for a cherry-picked, lop sided tariff and quota free access, at terms no other non-EU country is offered in an FTA for the same trade volumes. What the hell makes an ex-member special - the divorce is done. The UK is seekng to retain the privileged access the members have, and the UK *had*. People like you imply it is a EU thing - but the whole point of the privleges of the EU market is the cost paid by those members - it would indeed be stupid if any non-member country woud get that for nothing.

                  Not one country signs a deal to the detriment of their economy, and the WTO will not support such a thing. yes IF the EU offered it to the UK, the point of being a member is impacted. That in itself is the point - as a non-member those privileges are not available. You are playing down the benefits as unnecessary and not worthy of membership and in another breath saying the benefits should be offered to non-members. WTF? It's like complaining that you don't get the club membership benefits after leaving the club.

                  Delaware is not a tax haven - it is the legal framework there makes it desirable for American corporates. You are seriously misinformed. And you bring in an American *state*.

                  What has that got to do with making the UK favourable for being the corporate base for corporates non-US markets? Yet again you are not answering the point of how lowering corporate taxes helps, instead you bring in the CFO whims and Delaware. Are you saying the UK future is at the hand of CFO whims? If so, you're making my point.

                  No "saving" a budgetary contribution in terms of money is certainly not even remotely the same thing as an economic benefit. The problem is vastly more complex than that - from labour market supply, negotiating power due to scale, global role, dependence of existing business on privilged access to the EU markets *as a member*, and so very many more.

                  The UK can't even figure out the customs at their own border as other articles here show - what the hell is the budgetary contribution savings going to do other than pander it into MP duck moats, unusable PPE, and suprajudicial govt powers

                  The economic impact would not matter so much if the UK did not depend so much on the EU for its industry. But as policy, the government chose to move to services that depend and take advantage of the single market.

                  In lieu for fishing and milk?? 1 bn industry improved vs 160 bn industry at peril. Access to 500 million customer lost on 1st Jan. Yes "economically benefitial already" and I'm supposed to believe your Kool-aid looking at the covid fiasco.

                  There is and has been no evidence that the UK government has driven in the areas it completely could whilst in the EU. I don't get how leaving the EU suddenly makes this country's governence A-class.

                  I'm sure your response will bring in Antartica's full access FTA and that the sun is known in some places to set in the east, and that Galileo is not needed as compasses have worked, and that Mexico makes the best enchiladas, so Brexit is great.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: OTOH

                    I talk labour costs, and you bring in climate credits??? An increased market supply lowers labour costs - skilled or unskilled. The UK will have to turn to non-EU markets - they have not managed to encourage local labour in 47 years of the EU.

                    Well, I wonder why that is? So why the number of jobs that have left the UK, sometimes where labour costs are comparable. So the HP Sauce example. Or large chunks of the car industry that have sometimes relocated elsewhere in the EU with the help of EU grants. But labour costs are only part of the equation. Other policies have increased the cost of doing business in the UK or EU in general, such as energy. That's resulted in your 'increased market supply', ie more unemployed.. but won't improve unless the UK becomes an attractive place to create jobs.

                    People like you imply it is a EU thing - but the whole point of the privleges of the EU market is the cost paid by those members - it would indeed be stupid if any non-member country woud get that for nothing.

                    People like you seem blissfully ignorant of reality-

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_free_trade_agreements

                    With a long list of FTA's in force, or in progress. And yes, it would see stupid, except the stupid is real. All those countries get trade without paying the EU's tithe, and accepting all the EU's Directives in return. So CETA for example. Mostly FTA deal agreed with Canada, and no expectation that Canada surrenders it's fishing rights, or adopts any 'level playing field'.

                    Delaware is not a tax haven - it is the legal framework there makes it desirable for American corporates. You are seriously misinformed.

                    Not me. See-

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delaware_General_Corporation_Law#Tax_benefits_and_burdens

                    Delaware charges no income tax on corporations not operating within the state, so taking advantage of Delaware's other benefits does not result in taxation.

                    Again one of those little details the EU's afraid of, ie the UK becoming a Delaware on it's doorstep.

                    Are you saying the UK future is at the hand of CFO whims? If so, you're making my point.

                    Yup. Previously you said a CFO's duty is to minimise tax. So if the UK decides to lower it's CT to the same, or less than say, Netherlands, Luxembourg or Ireland, what do you think might happen? Do you think it may incentivise companies to incorporate some or all of it's business here? And might that create jobs, as well as additional tax revenues?

                    No "saving" a budgetary contribution in terms of money is certainly not even remotely the same thing as an economic benefit.

                    Err.. right. So money that would have gone to the EU that could now be invested (or just not spent) in the UK is not an economic benefit?

                    The UK can't even figure out the customs at their own border as other articles here show

                    Well, it may suprise you to know that cargo ships regularly arrive in UK ports from non-EU countries, and HMRC does a fair job of sorting those out. Ok, so it may not be perfect and the EU has on occasion tried to claim HMRC is doing it wrong and we owe the EU additional duty. But such are the joys of trade. So did you know there's a little trick Norway plays? US ethanol attracts a high tariff into the EU, so Norway imports it, blends it with petrol and moves it on into the EU.

                    But some of the rest are chicken little cries. Yes, there may be additional paperwork.. unless there's an FTA, in which case it won't be needed. And it's not like filling out a customs declaration is hard.

                    But as policy, the government chose to move to services that depend and take advantage of the single market.

                    Err.. nope. London has always been a place to do business. You may have heard of venerable institutions like the Baltic Exchange (global shipping), the International Petroleum Exchange (home of Brent Crude), now part of the ICE, or Lloyds.. The insurer, not the chemist. Or the LSE (exchange, not the hotbed of socialism), the LME if you want some rare earths.. Then all the other banks, law firms, clearing houses etc. Curious thing is the number that originated in coffee shops. Such is trade.

                    But our friends in the EU have been trying to chip away at that for decades and convince more to move to places like Frankfurt or Paris.. Yet London still dominates, and if the EU wants to lose access to those services, well, good luck to them I guess.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: OTOH

                      >>the UK becomes an attractive place to create jobs

                      could have happend in the last 47 years then

                      >> People like you seem blissfully ignorant of reality-

                      >> long list of FTA's in force

                      FTA != tarriff and quota free access, passporting rights etc - disingenous or stupidly ignorant answer.

                      >> Delaware is not a tax haven

                      Delaware is not a tax haven - the US has a federal tax structure.

                      >>Do you think it may incentivise companies to incorporate some or all of it's business here?

                      Why hasn't this happened in Guersney already then?

                      >> the EU wants to lose access to those services

                      Huh you just said London is international - the EU won't need a deal to access those services.

                      >>London has always been a place to do business.

                      The economic value/tax revenue of that is not enough to offset the loss - interestingly all you list are exchanges/brokers.

                      I get you like Brexit, but just stop with the propoganda that the positive outcomes come with an easy ride. Even in the best of days, the Brexit opportunity comes with siginificant near, short and medium term losses and costs.

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: OTOH

                        could have happend in the last 47 years then

                        Or perhaps being in the EU prevented it. So 'illegal' subsidies, state aid etc.

                        FTA != tarriff and quota free access, passporting rights etc - disingenous or stupidly ignorant answer.

                        Err, right. So the EU and WTO list those as FTAs. Free Trade generally means tariff and quota free trade. Details may vary a little by agreement, but I guess you're saying the EU uses a diferent definition of FTA than the rest of the world. But good news I guess, ie the EU should be happy to offer the UK a clone of Canada's !FTA.. Yet for some reason, the EU is refusing.. Also trade inside the EU isn't always free. As Ukraine discovered. Some rather bloody moves to embrace the EU, only to find it's agricultural sector has tight quotas with the EU, and it's lost it's previous main trading partner.

                        Delaware is not a tax haven - the US has a federal tax structure.

                        Ok.. so Delaware charges no CT, yet is not a tax haven. Strange interpretation you have. And the US has both federal and state taxes. Much like the federal EU..

                        Huh you just said London is international - the EU won't need a deal to access those services.

                        That's great news I guess. So there'll be nothing stopping UK offering financial services in the EU, or EU customers utilising services that aren't regulated by the EU..

                        interestingly all you list are exchanges/brokers.

                        They're rather important to businesses, directly or indirectly. I also missed on, ie the London Clearing House. €12 trillion repo trades per month, or the way it dealt with clearing Lehman's $9tn interest swap defaults.

                        Even in the best of days, the Brexit opportunity comes with siginificant near, short and medium term losses and costs.

                        Be careful with your crystal balls. The sky hasn't fallen, yet. And as for propaganda, you have perhaps been reading too much of that if you get your Brexit 'facts' from sources like the BBC...

                2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
                  Headmaster

                  Re: OTOH

                  The UK has left the EU on Januray 31st 2020, the transition period ends on December 31st 2020.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: OTOH

                    The jelliedeel is as slippery as an eel in the pro brexit answers.

                    With three months to go, none of the great policies are being announced. Yet it is out of deference for EU. But happy to renege on existing agreements.

                    Claims “Federal” EU, when talking about corporate taxes, yet no federal corporate taxes are paid in EU. Gives Delaware as an example, but cannot answer why Guernsey is not the choice of domicile for corporates like Apple.

                    FTA are apparently always quota free. Provides list of EU ftas which has custom union agreements and EEA countries.

                    Picks a country (Canada) oceans away with complementary, largely non overlapping industries and wants the same terms for a country with overlapping industries. Even if taken as the reference FTA, Said FTA has quotas for eg https://www.international.gc.ca/controls-controles/prod/tables_ceta_quotas-2019-tableaux_contingents_aecg.aspx?lang=eng.

                    Ironically for fisheries, which is tariff and quota free, Canada agrees to allow EU fishing vessels. non overlap of PAPs (processed agricultural products), a major EU export, that Canada offers tariff free access.

                    Blames employee rights and protections for “expensive” labour market, yet believes subsidies (wage subsidies) are a sustainable way to encourage private job creation, instead of spending in on education and upskilling. Yet gives no blame to Uk gov for the low productivity figures in the country.

                    If the UK had fixed or improved things that are unambiguously under its total control, I’ll believe the propaganda that the EU scapegoat was the hinderance to the UK all along. Labour skills, productivity, non EU immigration, nhs beaurecratic waste, etc.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: OTOH

                      With three months to go, none of the great policies are being announced. Yet it is out of deference for EU. But happy to renege on existing agreements.

                      I'm guessing you've never negotiated anything. So currently we're in a 'transition' period, with terms laid out in the withdrawl agreement. So generally it's not a good idea to lay all your cards on the table during negotiation, especially when the other side isn't. And there's no 'reneging' on existing agreements as the only one that really matters right now is predicated on the EU negotiating in good faith & working out a trade deal.. Which the EU is refusing to do, ie not respecting UK sovereignty and expecting control over NI to be handed to Brussels..

                      Claims “Federal” EU, when talking about corporate taxes, yet no federal corporate taxes are paid in EU.

                      Sure they are, ie the tithes members pay based on GDP, or the EU's cut of VAT. Plus don't forget the EU originally was planned to creat a federal Europe, and since inception, as been preaching 'ever closer political union', meaning control over policies via Directives, and granting itself 'exclusive competence' over swathes of policy. Like negotiating trade deals, for example..

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: OTOH

                        Slippery eel - redefine what corporate tax is and tar anything as convenient. From corporate tax paid by a private entity in the country of domicile, you’ve gone everywhere from American federal tax, federal eu, then gdp based payments made by government. Yet corporate tax and guersney, the original point, remains unanswered.

                        Withdrawal agreement was agreed, UK is reneging. The terms for NI and Irish border was agreed by the UK when it exercised its sovereignty and signed the withdrawal agreement, and ratified said agreement in its own parliament.

                        using sovereignty as a cover to breach that very agreement is not alright.

                        It’s basically anarchy, not rule of law.

                        If anyone believes losing integrity is a worthy price for brexit, what is there to discuss?

                      2. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: OTOH

                        >> I'm guessing you've never negotiated anything.

                        So the UK won’t drop corporate taxes because they want to agree on rates with the EU, but wants to lower taxes after agreement, and then claim sovereignty and renege on the agreement?

                        Deception is not negotiation.

                        Seriously if your ethical standards are so low, there is nothing to discuss. You’ll burn babies to keep the brexit bonfire going.

                        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                          Re: OTOH

                          So the UK won’t drop corporate taxes because they want to agree on rates with the EU, but wants to lower taxes after agreement, and then claim sovereignty and renege on the agreement?

                          As usual, you have things bass-ackwards. Currently we're negotiating per the agreement. The EU says there must be a 'level playing field'. That directly contradicts the usual ideal of national or parliamentary sovereignty. Same with refusing to recognise the UK's EEA/EEZ per UNCLOS. If the EU can't accept a sovereign UK, and won't negotiate based on a sovereign UK, then the agreement is void. Then come Jan 1st, Parliament is freed to act as it sees fit.

                          It's not really hard to understand, just needs a bit of practice reading contracts. So back to Canada..

                          Reservation II-C-5

                          2. Canada shall endeavour to accord to vessels entitled to fly the flag of a Member State of the European Union treatment no less favourable than the treatment it accords, in like situations, to vessels entitled to fly the flag of any other foreign State.

                          So no implicit right for EU fishing vessels to fish in Canada's water.. And if you read a little deeper, you'd find various provincial regulations where their governments can favour licensing Canadian operators, set quotas, restrict factory ships etc etc.. And the reciprocal reservations from EU nations.

                          (And it also means not being free to open offlicences in Canada's provinces that have monopolies like The Beer Shop.. and Canadian's can't break Sweden's booze monopoly either)

                          Seriously if your ethical standards are so low, there is nothing to discuss. You’ll burn babies to keep the brexit bonfire going.

                          Well, I guess that would be sustainable?

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: OTOH

                            >> Same with refusing to recognise the UK's EEA/EEZ per UNCLOS.

                            You have it backwards - they won’t for what the Uk is asking for. The Uk needs to pay the price or ask for less. Isn’t that how negotiation works?

                            >> It's not really hard to understand, just needs a bit of practice reading contracts.

                            Don’t be patronising - it only betrays your arrogance. So you agree ftas are not quota free I presume? You claim FTA have no quotas or tariffs, yet are supposedly good at reading contracts. Hubris much?

                            you’re just point scoring jumping topics.

                            Not back to Canada, back all the way to the start of this article and corporate taxes first.

                            If corporate taxes are lowered to attract Uk domiciled countries, why hasn’t it worked for guernsey.

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: OTOH

                              If corporate taxes are lowered to attract Uk domiciled corporations, why hasn’t it worked for guernsey.

                            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                              Re: OTOH

                              <blockquote?You claim FTA have no quotas or tariffs, yet are supposedly good at reading contracts. Hubris much?</nope>

                              Nope, I said generally. Also I mentioned Canada specifically because it's a model the UK's suggested the EU could adopt.. But previously, you claimed-

                              Ironically for fisheries, which is tariff and quota free, Canada agrees to allow EU fishing vessels. non overlap of PAPs (processed agricultural products), a major EU export, that Canada offers tariff free access.

                              Which is incorrect on most of your points. The EU has quotas for Canada's fish and most other agricultural products. The EU's a bit more generous with lobster, which I guess shows Brussels priorities. Again something the UK's said it's broadly OK with but the EU's refused to even begin talking lobsters.

                              The Uk needs to pay the price or ask for less. Isn’t that how negotiation works?

                              I think you'll find the UK decided not to pay the price a few years ago. It's also decided that surrendering sovereignty is not worth the price. But then the EU's never really been very keen on it's members sovereignty. So you keep wibbling about Guernsey-

                              https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-guernsey-33181401

                              Guernsey's Chief Minister has called for the island to be removed from a new European tax blacklist.

                              The European Commission list features 30 non-EU jurisdictions it has branded "non co-operative".

                              Each country on the list, including six British overseas territories, was nominated by 10 members of the European Union.

                              Last year that changed to 'co-operative' following Guernsey agreeing to the EU's demands, or at least some of them. But that aside, the Channel Islands earn a fair chunk of their GDP from financial services anway.. And if you understood Guernsey's policies, you may realise it has strict control over residency & population given they're small islands.

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: OTOH

                                You’re making no sense about sovereignty. Sovereignty isn’t carte Blanche to do whatever in an agreed union.

                                If you believe this then westminister is interfering with the sovereignty of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

                                Which means if you characterise the EU as “interfering” with sovereignty, you would accept that the United Kingdom also needs to dissolve as Westminster is worse, where English MPs have a say over things like Scotland’s indyref.

                                Btw that article highlights what makes guersney a tax haven, unlike Delaware. A country attracts dirty and illegal money, requires no identification or sources of funds, and your view is that the “sovereignty” of the nation is impacted because their choices have consequences.

                                Somehow collective strength of nations under the EU umbrella towards correcting a bad or illegal thing is impeding guernseys “sovereignty”. But apparently said nations must compromise their sovereign right to unite and not work with a tax haven nation. They apparently don’t have the right to not work with guernsey, but guersney gets to exercise their sovereign right to be a tax haven, and continue to do so.

                                you have a twisted way of simply negating any EU action, I can’t see how you reinvent a known tax havens blacklisting as a breach of sovereignty.

                                ultimately from your posts, it is clear you don’t have any values or principles. You will twist anything to suit your point.

                                Brexit at any cost, just like a bitter man burning with anger after a divorce. Everything and anything is the ex partners fault. Anything they do is wrong if it isn’t your way.

                                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                                  Re: OTOH

                                  You’re making no sense about sovereignty. Sovereignty isn’t carte Blanche to do whatever in an agreed union.

                                  Huh? So the UK abrogated some aspects of it's sovereignty whilst it was in the EU. The UK is now part-way out of that union, and so will regain it's sovereignty. Problem is at the moment, the EU is still insisting on some control.

                                  Which means if you characterise the EU as “interfering” with sovereignty, you would accept that the United Kingdom also needs to dissolve as Westminster is worse, where English MPs have a say over things like Scotland’s indyref.

                                  Not at all, that's your own unique interpretation. The UK exists thanks to a bit of Game of Thrones and various Acts of Union.. Which ultimately lead to the idea of Parliamentary sovereignty, give or take stuff that's delegated to the regional assemblies. Currently Scotland is part of the UK, as is NI, hence the concerns regarding the EU's attempts to carve that out and impose internal trade barriers in the Irish Sea.. Which again goes back to the trade negotiations, and with an FTA, there'd be no need for any 'hard' border between NI and Ireland.

                                  They apparently don’t have the right to not work with guernsey, but guersney gets to exercise their sovereign right to be a tax haven, and continue to do so.

                                  Again, your words, not mine. But the Bailiwick of Guernsey is sovereign. It's not an EU member, and it's not a part of the UK.. Just an independent Crown Dependency. If it's decided to be a tax haven, that's it's business. If the EU decides to blacklist it, that's the EU's choice to blacklist multiple 'British' tax havens.

                                  ultimately from your posts, it is clear you don’t have any values or principles.

                                  Naturally I would disagree. I do disagree with the way the EU's bloated bureaucracy has impacted the UK's sovereignty, and I'm glad we're regaining it. You seem to prefer the idea of the UK being a vassal of the EU. Oh, and just for giggles, do you know where most of the lobsters are caught in the EU? And why that might be an issue wrt say, deciding Canadian lobster quotas?

                              2. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                Re: OTOH

                                >> And if you understood Guernsey's policies, you may realise it has strict control over residency & population given they're small islands.

                                Apple operations international has a total of... 0 employees.

                                It is a purely a “virtual” company just for tax domicile purposes.

                                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                                  Re: OTOH

                                  Apple operations international has a total of... 0 employees.

                                  It is a purely a “virtual” company just for tax domicile purposes.

                                  At last, back to the topic.. ish. So what are you trying to say here? Apple should have domiciled it's entity for booking all it's EU sales in a country that... isn't in the EU?

                                  1. Anonymous Coward
                                    Anonymous Coward

                                    Re: OTOH

                                    >> there's that huge white elephant with rounded corners. Ireland's been able to attract deals like Apple due to it's low corporation tax. The UK may be able to offer similar deals to attract business like that to the UK, which is one of those things that terrifies the EU

                                    You said the UK can lower corporate taxes *outside the EU* and attract for eg Apple to domicile its international operations in the UK, instead of Ireland.

                                    I asked if just lowering the corporate taxes were enough, Guernsey is an existing choice that has not been exercised.

                                    Now after quite the rambling, finally you're affirming my point - that the point of domiciling depends on access and size of the market. The UK might get Apple to domicile in the UK for the UK sales, but this would not be a threat to the EU. The claim you had started this whole thing with about.

                                    Indeed Ireland could offer a UK specific sweetheart deal for UK sales as the UK is not a EU member and does not want a "level playing field" anyway.

                                    Have an upvote because the penny has finally dropped.

                          2. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: OTOH

                            >> refusing to recognise the UK's EEA/EEZ per UNCLOS.

                            If the EU actually did not recognise this, it wouldn’t be a negotiating point. They would have just sent vessels. The fact that they are asking the UK *is* recognition of the UK territorial waters per UNCLOS guidelines.

                            The very choice of words to portray the EU’s position indicates a bias.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    poor Ireland

    Poor Ireland, defrauded of all of that tax revenue, won't somebody think of the children....

    Oh no, hang on, this story is that Ireland cut Apple a massive tax break, then the EU forced Apple to pay the tax and then the Irish government didn't want it back and now they are arguing while the money sits in escrow, helping nobody.

    So its not your usual megacorp tax avoidance story.

    I'd put in to a referendum, ask the Irish people if they would like €2500 each, see what they say.

    1. Ken 16

      Re: poor Ireland

      Ireland has strict rules about referenda, the consequences of the vote has to be explained, so it can't be a simple "do you want €2500?" but might be "vote yes if you want €2500 from Apple now even if that means risking the €6.9 billion taxes from multinational corporations and a likely increase of €1000 per year on your taxes over the next 10 years and immediate loss of 6000 direct jobs and 17,000 indirect jobs arising from Apple basing it's EU headquarters here"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: poor Ireland

        Sounds like Ireland has a more robust referendum mechanism than other european countries....

  9. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Ireland have a history of these sorts deals in order to attract foreign investment. It was the reason for the Celtic Tiger economy twenty odd years ago.

    Of course Ireland aren't the only European country that have been doing it, and getting away with it for decades. And there are other countries within the EU who blatantly breach state aid rules in other ways.

    The interesting thing about this is that state aid is one of the sticking points in Brexit negotiations. The EU want the UK to adhere to EU state aid rules to keep a level playing field. Which would be reasonable were it not for the fact that the likes of Ireland and Spain have been openly flouting the rules for decades.

    Of course this could have been used as a negotiating chip, were it not for that fact that Boris seems intent on making the UK side look like the bad guys at every turn. As such the UK team are spending most of their time dealing with fallout from Team Cummings rather than actually negotiating.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Trollface

      You'll have to acknowledge that the UK government is rather inovative in its solutions for some Brexit issues:

      Starting January 1st, lorries need a specific travel permit to go into Kent.

      The first permits will be delivered in April when the system is up.

      So the dreaded congestion won't happen....

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        What's even more impressive is that the UK government think all freight heading for Europe goes through Kent.

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