The European Commission vs Apple. Should have Brussels intervened?


Friday, April 14, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:15pm


Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA. Room WCC 3016

The European Commission concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple. This is illegal under EU state aid rules, because it allowed Apple to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. The Commission can order recovery of illegal state aid for a ten-year period preceding the Commission's first request for information in 2013. Ireland must now recover the unpaid taxes in Ireland from Apple for the years 2003 to 2014 of up to €13 billion, plus interest. In fact, the tax treatment in Ireland enabled Apple to avoid taxation on almost all profits generated by sales of Apple products in the entire EU Single Market. This is due to Apple's decision to record all sales in Ireland rather than in the countries where the products were sold. This structure is however outside the remit of EU state aid control. If other countries were to require Apple to pay more tax on profits of the two companies over the same period under their national taxation rules, this would reduce the amount to be recovered by Ireland.Apple's appeal joins an earlier one filed by Ireland attacking the E.U.'s charge that Apple shifted nearly all of its European profits to two "head offices" in Ireland —Apple Sales International, and Apple Operations Europe —so they couldn't be taxed. Former Vice-President of the European Commission Almunia will reflect on the steps carried out by the EU on the matter.

Speaker: Joaquín Almunia, President CEPS. Former Vice-President European Commission

Sponsor: RCC, Harvard European Law Association, Intitute for Global Law and Policy

See also: Harvard, RCC, Cambridge