We noted in October that Apple could face a fine up to $19 Billion for Tax Avoidance. The report noted that in preliminary findings last year, European antitrust authorities said Apple's tax arrangements were improperly designed to give the iPhone maker a financial boost in exchange for jobs in the country. Finance Minister Michael Noonan vowed at the time to go to court to fight any negative ruling from European Union watchdogs. The EU is to rule on whether Ireland's tax dealings with Apple violated the bloc's state-aid rules. The ruling that was due before the end of 2015 will now be postponed until 2016, reports the Financial Times.
The Financial Times is reporting that "Brussels has extended its probe into Ireland's alleged sweetheart tax deal with Apple, the US technology company, reducing the risk that a tough verdict in the case could have an impact on Irish elections early next year.
The investigation into whether Dublin has offered illegal preferential tax terms to Apple is one of the European Commission's most closely followed cases, as Brussels pursues a crackdown on corporate tax avoidance across the EU.
The commission this month stepped up its probes into EU nations' sweetheart deals with multinational companies, accusing McDonald's of benefiting from arrangements that allowed it to pay no tax on European royalties in Luxembourg.
That followed decisions in October ordering Luxembourg and the Netherlands to recoup tens of millions of euros from the Italian carmaker Fiat and the US coffee shop chain Starbucks. But analysts regard the Apple decision as more significant because the underpaid tax could run to billions of euros if the commission rules against Ireland."
The Financial Times further noted that "Ireland's fiscal relationship with Apple cuts to the heart of the country's strategic goal of attracting big US technology companies to base themselves there.
A ruling from Brussels would also potentially place Ireland's leaders in the difficult position of having to appeal against a large back tax cheque from Apple rather than adding it to public spending. A negative verdict would hand ammunition to opposition parties on the left such as Sinn Féin, which are fiercely critical of Ireland's corporate tax arrangements.