The European Union yesterday accused Ireland of breaking its EU tax laws by letting Apple shelter tens of billions of dollars worth of profits from revenue collectors in return for maintaining jobs.
Europe’s Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia wrote to Dublin that tax deals agreed in 1991 and 2007 amounted to state aid and might have broken EU laws.
“The Commission is of the opinion that through those rulings the Irish authorities confer an advantage on Apple,” Almunia wrote in the 11 June.
However, Apple denied it had received selective treatment. “We’re subject to the same tax laws as the countless other companies who do business in Ireland,” a spokesman said.
An Irish government spokesman referred to previous statements saying it followed EU rules. When publication of the letter was flagged on Monday the Irish finance department said it was confident it had not breached state aid rules.
The Commission said the tax rulings were “reverse engineered” to ensure that Apple had a minimal Irish bill.
It added that minutes from meetings involving Irish officials showed that the tax authority did not even attempt to apply international tax rules in its deals with Apple.
Instead, the company’s tax treatment had been “motivated by employment considerations”, the Commission said.
Apple employs 4,000 workers at a manufacturing plant in Cork in south-west Ireland.
Shares in Apple rose 0.64 per cent to $100.75.