Insiders have indicated lately, that the European Commission might launch a formal state aid investigation against Apple. Apple´s operations in Europe are led from its Irish base, where it has operated since 1980 almost tax-free. According to some, Apple has negotiated a deal with the Irish government on its tax regime. If this were true, the Commission in its struggle against too loose tax regimes in certain Member States announced in the previous months, could investigate both Apple and Ireland and if the specific tax regime were found and were considered state aid, Apple could face a large fine from the EU executive. Both Apple and Ireland deny any sort of special treatment. However, during the 2013 US Senate investigation of Apple´s taxes, it has been demonstrated how Apple uses its Ireland-based subsidiary which is tax resident in no country to avoid taxation. It is expected, that a formal note on the initiation of state aid investigations could be published on Tuesday 7 October. If it is the case, the formal proceedings can take months to complete.
Apart from Ireland and Apple, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are in EC´s scope regarding their tax regimes, mainly vis-a-vis Starbucks and Fiat.
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2nd October 2020
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