Nick Shaxson ■ Euro Commission probes corporate tax arrangements of Apple, Starbucks and Fiat


Apple taxFrom

“The European Commission has opened three in-depth investigations to examine whether decisions by tax authorities in Ireland, The Netherlands and Luxembourg with regard to the corporate income tax to be paid by Apple, Starbucks and Fiat Finance and Trade, respectively, comply with the EU rules on state aid.”

This will get interesting.  In 2011, the European Court of Justice declared that tax exemptions especially designed for offshore companies are considered state aid, and it prohibited Gibraltar from enacting new offshore tax legislation. The ruling can be found here: it’s complex, but see especially points 104 to 107. (With thanks to Martina Neuwirth and Maaike van Diepen.)

Ireland is putting on the usual theatre of probity.

“We believe that our legislation … is very strong and ethically implemented and we will defend that very robustly,” [Prime Minister Enda] Kenny told journalists in Dublin.

“Ethically implemented.” What a lot of nonsense. And besides: it’s not the implementation that’s at issue here. It’s the laws themselves. Let’s hope that the EU steamrollers these abusive schemes.

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