Dublin has accused the European Commission of overstepping its powers, infringing on national sovereignty and misunderstanding the law by ordering Ireland to claw back taxes from Apple of up to €13 billion, plus interest.
In a summary of its legal arguments published Monday, Ireland outlined the appeal it had lodged with the General Court of the EU to annul the Commission’s ruling.
“Ireland does not accept the Commission’s analysis, which is why we have lodged an application with the General Court of the European Union to annul the whole decision,” the Department of Finance said in a tersely worded statement that accompanied the summary. “Ireland did not give favorable tax treatment to Apple — the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no state aid was provided.”
The Commission in August ruled Ireland had violated EU rules by offering Apple a tax arrangement that allowed the iPhone maker to skirt taxes for more than a decade by allocating the vast majority of its profits for two Irish-registered companies to Apple International.
According to the Commission, Apple paid an effective corporate tax rate of 1 percent on its European profits in 2003, down to 0.005 percent in 2014, significantly below Ireland’s tax rate of 12.5 percent — already the lowest in the EU — giving it an unfair tax advantage over competitors. The Commission is likely to publish the details of its reasoning as early as this week.
In the summary of its appeal, Dublin outlined eight legal arguments. These included the allegation that the Commission had misapplied state aid law, exceeded its powers and interfered with national tax sovereignty, failed to provide proper reasoning for its decision, misunderstood Irish law, didn’t follow procedure and wrongly invoked certain legal rules.
“The Commission breached the duty of good administration by failing to act impartially and in accordance with its duty of care,” Ireland argued. “The Commission attempts to rewrite the Irish corporation tax rules … the Commission’s claim is inconsistent with member state sovereignty in the area of direct taxation.”
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