Ireland failed to justify the selective treatment of Apple with regard to tax rulings, according to the European Commission.
The full ruling on the finding that Ireland granted the US tech giant up to €13 billion in illegal State aid was published this morning.
The commission said “selective treatment” allowed Apple to pay a tax rate of 1% on European Union profits in 2003 down to 0.005% in 2014.
At the centre of the Apple controversy are two of the company’s subsidiaries, Apple Operations Europe (AOE) and Apple Sales International (ASI).
In its full non-confidential ruling, the commission said Revenue tax rulings issued to these subsidiaries conferred a “selective advantage” that is “imputable to Ireland and financed through State resources, which distorts or threatens to distort competition and which is liable to affect trade between Member States”.
It added the “contested tax rulings therefore constitute State aid” and that “Ireland has not put forward any justification at all for the selective treatment”.
Ibec and Oxfam were among parties who submitted comments to the commission on its investigation in 2014.
The full report has been somewhat redacted, with the names of specific companies omitted from due to confidentially.
However, the commission does outline the tax arrangements of several multinationals operating in Ireland from 1998.
At the end of August the European Commission published its long-awaited findings into whether or not the Government had broken European state aid rules by granting Apple two special tax deals in 1991 and 2007.
The commission’s conclusion stunned the Government: it said Apple had been granted a benefit of €13bn by the Irish tax authorities, money the company would have to repay.
The decision drew a furious reaction from Dublin, and it posed an immediate challenge to the minority Coalition over whether the Government should appeal the decision.
Opposition TDs said the €13bn in alleged tax arrears could be spent on vital public services.
The publication of the full report today was delayed so that sensitive commercial information relating to Apple could be redacted.
In a statement last night, the Department of Finance denied that Ireland provided any favourable tax treatment to Apple, accusing the commission of misunderstanding Irish law and of wrongly interpreting the EU’s own rules on state aid.
The Government has appealed the European Commission’s decision to the European Court of Justice.
The European Commission has said it will defend its decision that Ireland granted Apple up to €13 billion in illegal State aid in court.