UPDATED 00:17 EDT / AUGUST 31 2016

NEWS

EU slogs Apple with $14.5b in taxes, pushes case for #Irexit

In a severe blow to the sovereignty of the Republic of Ireland, the European Union (EU) has ordered that Apple pay €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in allegedly “unpaid” taxes after it ruled that Ireland’s tax treatment of the tech giant was illegal under EU state aid rules.

The unsustainable supranational body made the ruling Tuesday, saying that (we’re not making this up) “Member States cannot give tax benefits to selected companies.”

In its ruling, the EU decided to trample over Irish sovereignty by claiming that two tax rulings issued by Ireland to Apple “have substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991;” the rulings, which have bipartisan support in the emerald isle, allow Apple to legally funnel profits through its Irish subsidiaries (Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe) and legally pay a lower level of tax than it would have if it was based in a high taxing country in mainland Europe.

The Irish Government responded to the ruling by saying it would appeal, and that “Ireland’s position remains that the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no State aid was provided.  Ireland did not give favorable tax treatment to Apple.  Ireland does not do deals with taxpayers.”

#Irexit

The European Union’s decision to punish Apple, and by extension the Irish Government’s taxation policies, could lead to what is being dubbed “Irexit,” an exit of Ireland from the European Union.

As Guido Fawkes at Order-Order.com notes:

The right-of-centre pro-business parties are going to fight this ruling, the left-of-centre parties were angry earlier this summer because the Commission overruled the Dáil (parliament) on water charges – forcing the state to charge for water supply which was hitherto delivered free to homes. EU law having primacy over laws made by Ireland’s lawmakers. Irexit is looking more appealing to all sides …

Britain, which remains a member of the European Union but voted to leave the body in June (the process takes roughly two years), has surged after their decision to abandon the German-dominated body, including record levels of tourism and foreign investment.

Ireland, who desperately wants Apple and other companies to stay within its borders, may well follow suit.

The country has one of the lowest business tax rates not only in the European Union but the world, and supranational interference in their rights to decide how they tax any company, let alone Apple, really should be the last straw.

Image credit: Mikhail (Vokabre) Shcherbakov/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC by SA 2.0

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