Ireland pledges to appeal Apple’s giant tax bill

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Irish flag
Ireland is standing with Apple for its protest.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The Irish government will lodge a formal appeal with the European Commission over the enormous tax bill of 13 billion euros ($14.52 billion) handed out to Apple earlier this week.

The decision, announced Friday, follows three days of internal divisions within the Irish Cabinet. The squabbling could conceivably have brought down the Irish government if an agreement was not reached.

Independent Irish politicians were opposed to appealing the EU’s controversial tax ruling — which found that Ireland’s longstanding tax deal with Apple broke EU laws and gave the company an unfair advantage — before changing their minds today.

In return for their support, Independent Alliance Ministers Shane Ross and Finian McGrath, along with Independent Minister Katherine Zappone, were able to get concessions from the ruling Fine Gael party in return for a review of the tax treatment of multinationals in Ireland, and changes targeting “tax justice and transparency.”

On paper, this situation is totally counterintuitive to watch as it unfolds. Ireland would be the recipient of the massive tax bill Apple is ordered to pay, but the country is taking on the European Commission to protest Cupertino’s having to pay it. The reason, as we’ve noted previously, is that Apple is investing heavily in Ireland, where it is a major employer and taxpayer.

Already, a post-Brexit U.K. has said it would happily welcome Apple if the company decides to set up shop there.

In an interview with the Irish Independent this week, Tim Cook said: “I feel like Ireland stuck with Apple when it wasn’t easy to stick with Apple, and now we’re sticking with Ireland.”