Ireland, Apple to jointly fight EU tax ruling

Ireland's cabinet yesterday agreed to appeal the multi-billion-euro retrospective tax demand jointly with Apple, despite the reservations of independents to who back the fragile coalition (See: EC orders Apple to pay €13 bn in taxes plus interest to Irish government over illegal profit routing).

Washington too has made its displeasure with the EC demand clear and has accused the EU of trying to grab tax revenue that belonged to the US government.

Meanwhile, the White House said president Barack Obama would address the issue of tax avoidance by some multinational corporations at a summit of the G20's  leading economies in China this weekend.

However, according to commentators, Ireland does not seem to be keen on the tax windfall, which would be equivalent to the amount it spent on funding its struggling health service.

Finance minister Michael Noonan had maintained all along that Dublin would fight any adverse ruling ever since the EU started investigating Apple's Irish tax affairs in 2014, and defended the tax regime that had attracted large numbers of multinational employers.

On Wednesday, however, he failed to get on board a group of independent lawmakers, whose support was critical for the minority government, to agree to fight the EU ruling, which said the low tax ruling amounted to illegal state aid.

However, he was able to win them over at a second attempt when the cabinet met on yesterday.

The cabinet decision would still need to be endorsed by parliament next Wednesday.

''A motion will come before the Dáil [Irish Parliament] on Wednesday seeking an endorsement of that [cabinet] decision,'' a government spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the left wing Sinn Féin party had highlighted that the government was effectively turning down a windfall payment that would fund the struggling national health service for a year.

The issue had also sparked wider debates in the UK and elsewhere about whether large corporations were avoiding their tax responsibilities.

But the counter narrative was that EC bureaucrats were scaring away multinationals that were responsible for creating a significant number of jobs.