An international legal team has been assembled by Ireland’s Department of Finance to fight the State’s following the European Commission’s decision to begin a formal investigation into the corporate tax issues in the country regarding Apple, according to The Irish Times.
A senior UK barrister, from Queen’s Counsel, has been hired by the Department to advise the government. A senior counsel from Ireland and a junior counsel have also been hired. The Department would not identify the UK expert hired to the team.
The Netherlands and Luxembourg will be investigated for tax rulings that they offered to Starbucks and Fiat.
Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said, “We are starting our work based on the information we receive and we will continue to request information as regards political cases.”
When Almunia was asked about Google, he said, “This is the beginning not the end of our work regarding how to enforce state aid rules, regarding the way tax systems are being used in particular with multinationals so I don’t exclude anything.”
In a statement released by the Department of Finance yesterday, Ireland is “confident that there is no state aid rule breach in this case and we will defend all aspects vigorously.”
If the commission ruled against the State, it said Ireland would fight the ruling in the European Court of Justice.
Being investigated by the commission will be tax rulings sent to Apple subsidiaries in Ireland. Those include Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe.
Almunia said, “We have serious doubts about the compatibility of these three particular decisions with the EU treaty rules on state aid.[..] It is well known that some multi-nationals are using tax planning strategies to reduce their global tax burden.”