Ahead of tomorrow’s ruling by a European Union court on Apple’s tax appeal for $14.8 billion, the leader of an electoral alliance has argued that Ireland rejecting the decision would be tantamount to “economic treason.”
Ireland’s involvement in the Apple tax appeal is complicated and, at face value, confusing. The European Commission ordered Apple pay the enormous sum in August 2016. This was due to it not paying enough tax in Ireland as part of an alleged sweetheart deal.
Apple is a big employer in Ireland, which could help explain its favorable terms with Apple in terms of tax. Under the EU’s decision, Ireland would receive the Apple tax windfall. However, Ireland actually sided with Apple in appealing the decision.
Eventually Ireland claimed the money from Apple — but only after the EU threatened Ireland with legal action. The money is currently being held in an escrow account until the case is sorted. In March, there was a dispute in Ireland over whether this money could be used to help out during the coronavirus pandemic. It was determined that this would be illegal.
As I’ve noted before, tomorrow’s ruling is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Whichever side wins, it is likely that either the EU or Apple will appeal. But Richard Boyd Barrett of the Irish electoral alliance group Solidarity – People Before Profit says that Ireland appealing the decision would be treasonous.
He has written asking for time to be set aside in parliament to debate whatever ruling is made. The group, Solidarity – People Before Profit, urges people to protest if there is an attempt made by the government to “prevent a collection of the tax.”
Apple’s money, Boyd Barrett argued, could be used for Ireland’s public health care system and other public services. “We are saying now to the Government: if the ruling is in favor of the Irish people tomorrow, that money should be paid,” he said. “There should be absolutely no question of appeal.”
Apple has always argued that it pays every cent that it owes.