- Will Apple get a second bite?
- How did Apple structure its business in Europe and allocate profits, and what aspects did the Commission find objectionable?
- In what way were the Irish tax authority rulings selective in nature?
- What was the distortion of competition (affecting trade between Member States)—did the Commission/EU courts set the bar too low in this regard?
- How likely is it that the ongoing State aid investigations into McDonalds and Amazon will follow along the lines of this decision and others (eg, Fiat and Starbucks) and lead to a similar outcome?
- The Commission makes clear that the amount the Irish authorities have to recover from Apple would reduce if other countries were to require Apple to pay more taxes. Is this scenario likely—and how would it work in practice?
- Where do these cases (and, if followed, the AG’s Opinion in Santander and World Duty Free cases) leave the ability of national governments to set their own tax policy?
- Does this sort of action threaten to undermine the whole concept of an APA?
Competition analysis: The European Commission has ruled that Apple’s Irish tax benefits are illegal State aid and that Ireland should recover €13bn in back taxes. Heather Self, tax partner (non-lawyer) at Pinsent Masons, and Caroline Ramsay, who leads the firm’s State aid practice, consider the ramifications of the European Commission’s ruling on Apple’s tax agreement with Ireland.
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