Calls for the 14 billion euro in disputed tax collected from Apple to be used to help people affected by Covid-19 are disingenuous, the Taoiseach has said.
Speaking in the Dail on Thursday, RISE TD Paul Murphy called for the money to go towards the nation’s response to the pandemic.
In 2016, it was ruled by the European Commission that the Irish state had given undue tax benefits worth 13 billion euro to Apple, which is illegal under EU state aid rules, and said it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses.
Ireland was ordered to recover the illegal aid, plus interest, however the state and Apple are currently appealing against the ruling.
Those who are claiming there is some mechanism by which we could access those billions is just being entirely disingenuousLeo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “It’s a very disingenuous question and solution. The truth is whether the state withdraws its appeal or not is irrelevant. Apple is appealing this judgment as well. So this will continue to be a matter for courts no matter what the Government does.
“Secondly, the money has been collected but it is in an escrow account and those accounts are controlled by the BNY Mellon. No government of any colour of any party, led by anyone can have access to that account so those who are claiming there is some mechanism by which we could access those billions is just being entirely disingenuous.
“The public deserve better than fake solutions.”
Ireland’s open economy is based on using low corporate taxation among other incentives to attract multinationals. In Apple’s case it was significantly below the standard 12.5% imposed on income.
The Irish Government opposes any effort to force it to change its taxation practices, which have seen the world’s top financial and technology firms set up base in Dublin.