The European Union on Tuesday ordered Apple to pay a record 13 billion euros in back taxes in Ireland, saying deals allowing the US tech giant to pay almost no tax were illegal.
In the latest in a series of rulings that has angered Washington, Brussels said the world’s most valuable company avoided tax bills on virtually all its profits in the bloc under its arrangements with Dublin.
Apple and the Irish government immediately said they would appeal against the European Commission ruling, while the US Treasury said it could undermine its economic partnership with the EU.
Ireland has been seeking to attract multinationals by offering extremely favourable tax conditions, known as sweetheart deals, but EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Apple’s broke EU laws on state aid.
“This decision sends a clear message. Member states cannot give unfair tax benefits to selected companies, no matter if European or foreign, large or small,” Vestager said.
“This is not a penalty, this is unpaid taxes to be paid,” Vestager added.
The tax repayment order — by far the largest in EU history — follows a three-year inquiry into whether Dublin’s tax breaks for Silicon Valley titan Apple were against the law.