The European Union (EU) has come out with its preliminary view on the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) – Ireland illegal tax dispute stating that the Irish tax decisions constitute state aid to the iPhone manufacturer. CNBC’s on-air correspondent Catherine Boyle reported on the European Commission’s finding and the curious timing of its announcement.
Boyle indicated that the ruling that was given today was just the beginning as it could take several months before the European authorities make a proposal to penalize Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
“This particular ruling today where the European Commission finds that arrangement between Apple and Ireland was a breach of Ireland law is something of an opening gambit, this is not check mate yet,” she said.
The Irish Government had denied any breach of Irish law and confirmed that it will contest this in the higher European Courts.
The timing of the EU’s announcement in the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) argument has the Irish Government baffled.
“[The] judgment was first sent to the Irish Government in June; so there are quite a lot of questions in Dublin about why this is being released today,” said Boyle.
The Irish Budget is anticipated to be proposed in a couple of weeks and the government was already under pressure to comply with the broader tax rules of the EU. There was also the matter of the retirement of the Commissioner for Competition, Joaquín Almunia, who is expected to be stepping down in a month’s time.
Boyle noted that it was clear that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had been enjoying tax rates as low as 2% in Ireland for nearly three decades. But she was of the opinion that the task of proving whether or not there was a breach of tax laws might prove difficult owing to the amount of time that has elapsed between now and the actual meeting under question which took place in 1991.
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