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EC Extends Investigation Into Apple Tax Deal

by Jason Gorringe,, London

16 December 2015

The European Commission has extended its investigation into a tax ruling provided by the Irish Government to Apple.

The Commission has asked the Irish authorities for additional information on the case. Irish media reports that the Government does not anticipate a decision until 2016.

In late November, Finance Minister Michael Noonan confirmed that the Commission had made the request and said that it would take the Government "two weeks or so" to put the material together. He said that he no longer foresaw a decision being made before Christmas.

A spokesperson for the Commission told the Irish Independent: "As in all state aid cases, the Commission has sent several requests for information to Ireland in the course of the ongoing investigation in the Apple case. It is standard procedure for the Commission to send information requests to a member state as part of investigations to gather information on facts relating to possible state aid measures."

In an Opening Decision published in September 2014, the Commission said that the two advance rulings in question may have conferred a selective advantage on Apple, in breach of European Union (EU) state aid rules. The Irish Government said that it was confident that there had been no breach, and that Apple "did not receive selective treatment and was taxed fully in accordance with the law."

In October, the Commission concluded its investigations into tax rulings provided by Luxembourg and the Netherlands to Fiat Finance and Starbucks, respectively. It found that the rulings confer selective tax advantages on the two companies, in breach of EU law, and ordered the two countries to recover the "unpaid tax."

Earlier this month, the Commission launched a formal investigation into Luxembourg's tax rulings for McDonald's. It will examine whether two tax rulings provided McDonald's with a favorable tax treatment. It will assess whether Luxembourg authorities selectively deviated from the provisions of their national tax law and the Luxembourg-US double taxation treaty, and whether they gave McDonald's an advantage not available to other companies in a comparable factual and legal situation.

TAGS: compliance | tax | European Commission | tax compliance | Ireland | Netherlands | revenue guidance | law | Luxembourg | ministry of finance | tax authority | tax planning | revenue statistics | European Union (EU) | Europe

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