Ireland intends to appeal the European Commission’s ruling that Apple must pay it around $14.5 billion in back taxes. The country’s cabinet agreed to appeal the ruling during a meeting today, with the decision to be finalized by a full vote in parliament next Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Immediately after it came down this week, Ireland’s Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, criticized the Commission’s ruling, saying he “profoundly” disagreed with it. At stake for Ireland, he said, was “integrity of our tax system” and the ability to provide “tax certainty to business.”
Apple likewise criticized the ruling as an attempt to “ignore Ireland’s tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process.” The US also criticized the decision, but more from the perspective that Apple should be paying these taxes to the US, rather than Ireland.
Ireland is in the awkward position of turning down €13 billion
The Commission announced its ruling on Tuesday, saying that Apple had benefited from an illegal tax deal in Ireland. That resulted in it paying an effective tax rate on European profits that ranged from 1 percent in 2003 to 0.005 percent in 2014, according to its investigation.
The tax deal offered Apple “a significant advantage over other businesses,” the Commission said, which amounted to unfair competition and makes it illegal under European Union law. Its chosen remedy is for Ireland to collect the unpaid taxes of “up to €13 billion, plus interest.”
That’s put Ireland in the awkward position of having to turn down billions in order to defend its tax structures. The country has been appealing to tech companies because of its low taxes, with one recently closed loophole allowing Apple and others to save billions over the years.
Apple has said it is “confident the decision will be overturned.”