Ireland's Sinn Fein party says it will pursue Apple if company owes back taxes

This is a discussion on Ireland's Sinn Fein party says it will pursue Apple if company owes back taxes within the Uk Dedicated Apple forum forums, part of the Regional Apple Forums category; Ireland's left-leaning Sinn Fein party could hold Apple accountable for taxes owed following a still-ongoing European Commission investigation, according to a party finance spokesman. The ...

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    Ireland's Sinn Fein party says it will pursue Apple if company owes back taxes




    Ireland's left-leaning Sinn Fein party could hold Apple accountable for taxes owed following a still-ongoing European Commission investigation, according to a party finance spokesman.

    The current Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, belongs to the more centrist Fine Gael party, and has promised to fight a Commission ruling if it determines that Ireland extended illegal state aid to Apple.

    "It's ridiculous in the extreme for the government to say no matter what the commission find, no matter how stark the evidence may be, that they're going to appeal this," the Sinn Fein spokesman, Pearse Doherty, said to Bloomberg. "This would be tax that would be due from a company that is more wealthy than the entire Irish state."

    Doherty insisted however that Sinn Fein has no intentions of raising Ireland's 12.5 percent corporate tax rate, and doesn't want to make any moves that could scare potential investors away from the country.

    National elections could take place as soon as next month. While polls suggest that no party will gain a majority, Sinn Fein is poised to double its support to 19 percent. The European Commission isn't expected to issue a ruling until at least March, which could mean an altered political landscape.

    Bloomberg Intelligence recently estimated that Apple could owe up to $8 billion in taxes for the years 2004 through 2012. By funneling money through Irish subsidiaries and exploiting loopholes, Apple may have been paying as little as 1.8 percent on many billions in international revenue. The Irish government is only now working to amend its tax system.

    The European Commission has already made rulings against Fiat and Starbucks for their tax deals with Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and said that 35 multinational corporations received illegal help from Belgium.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly insisted that his company follows the law and pays everything it owes, but this has done little to assuage criticism from politicians at home and abroad.





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    Apple's Tim Cook meets with EU antitrust chief ahead of decision on Irish taxes




    Earlier on Thursday Apple CEO Tim Cook attended a private meeting in Brussels with Margrethe Vestager, the head of the European Commission's antitrust efforts, presumably in an attempt to diminish the chances of owing billions in back taxes because of the company's Irish tax deals.

    The meeting's existence was confirmed by both Apple and the Commission, Bloomberg reported. Neither party was willing to share the topic of discussion.

    The Commission is however in the middle of investigating whether the Irish government extended illegal state aid to Apple in the form of tax deals. Apple is known to have exploited Irish loopholes for years to pay extremely low rates on international revenue, possibly as small as 1.8 percent. Ireland's normal corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent.

    A ruling could be issued as soon as March, but the investigation is already on a delayed schedule and information gathering is still said to be ongoing.

    The matter also has high stakes, as Apple could theoretically owe over $8 billion, and Irish political parties are split on the matter. While Prime Minister Enda Kenny has vigorously denied that Ireland is a tax haven, and promised to fight any EU ruling against the country, the opposition Sinn Fein party has said it would be willing to pursue money owed by Apple.

    EU aid rulings have already been issued against companies like Fiat and Starbucks and countries like Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, which may not bode well for Apple and Ireland.





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