Commission has taken the wrong decision in appealing the Apple ruling – Chartered Accountants Ireland

Sep 25, 2020

The EU Commission should not be appealing the decision of the General Court of the European Union in the Apple case, according to Chartered Accountants Ireland. The all-island body, representing 28,500 members, made the comments as the Irish government noted the decision of the European Commission on Friday to lodge such an appeal.

Commenting, Brian Keegan, Director of Public Affairs with Chartered Accountants Ireland said

“The appeal will serve little purpose. The Commission’s entitlement to look at tax issues when it comes to challenging state aid rules was confirmed by the July court ruling. This entitlement, along with the power of national officials to apply domestic law as best they see fit, may well be the only enduring lessons from the Apple case.  

“The Commission should now be looking forward and outward. The power of the EU single market in a disrupted and unstable international trading environment is critical.  Commission resources should now be devoted to securing Europe's place as an international trading bloc and not fighting internecine tax wars with member states.  

“The tax point at issue in the Apple case is no longer an issue, resolved neither by Irish legislation nor by European Commission activity but by changes in US tax law. The US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 cancelled out the strategy of deferring tax on profits of US multinationals earned outside the US by keeping those profits outside the US. Decisions on where tax is paid are the focal point for the international corporation tax reform agenda led by the OECD, and Commission challenges in the Apple case will not further that agenda.

“The European Treaties stipulate that a further appeal can only be on a point of law, which may be difficult given that the July ruling was largely determined on the facts.”