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Ireland Says EU Went Too Far In $14 Billion Tax Decision

REUTERS/Jason Reed

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Ireland’s government says the the European Union overstepped its bounds and incorrectly interpreted Irish law when it slapped Apple with $14.5 billion in back taxes in late August.

This $14.5 billion decree is the largest sum ever charged to a company by the European Union in its current war against corporate tax safe havens in Europe. The European Commission alleges that the deal Apple struck with Ireland is illegal state-aid, as they say the nation gave Apple a favorable tax deal that it did not provide to other competitors. (RELATED: EU Slams Apple With A $14.5 Billion Tax, INSISTS Apple Take The Money)

The Commission claims that Apple received state aid from Ireland that allowed it to pay 1 percent or less in income tax on European profits from 2003 to 2014.

The new set of arguments published Monday give further insights into the Irish government’s attempt to appeal the Commission’s decree, but a finalized version of the Commission’s decision will not be public until this week, the Journal reports. Apple has also repeatedly said the allegations by the Commission hold no weight, and the company’s CEO Tim Cook called the penalty “total political crap,” in September. The firm has its own plans to fight the Commission’s decision. (RELATED: Apple CEO: Ireland Ruling Is ‘Total Political Crap’)

The key issue in the Apple/Ireland case is whether or not two tax rulings Ireland gave to Apple in 1991 and 2007 constitute special treatment, or state aid. Ireland insists that the two rulings were nothing out of the ordinary, and did not depart from normal tax practices under the Irish tax code.

Apple is not an outlier in any sense that matters to the law. Apple is a convenient target because it generates lots of headlines. It allows the commissioner to become Dane of the year for 2016,” Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell and Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told reporters.

“Now the Irish have put in an expert opinion from an incredibly well-respected Irish tax lawyer. The Commission not only didn’t attack that – didn’t argue with it, as far as we know – they probably didn’t even read it,” Sewell told reports.

Apple insists that the Commission’s decision was an attempt to rewrite Irish corporate tax law by insisting that it set its standards similar to that of the E.U.

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