Silicon Valley tech titan Apple will fight an EU demand for a record 13 billion euros in back taxes in Ireland, a move Washington warned could damage transatlantic economic ties.
Brussels said Apple, the world’s most valuable company, avoided virtually all tax on its business in the bloc by illegal arrangements with Dublin which gave the company an unfair advantage over competitors.
Apple and the Irish government immediately said they would appeal against the European Commission ruling, with the iPhone maker warning it could cost European jobs.
The White House meanwhile cautioned against “unilateral” measures by the EU.
The company’s shares lost some of their shine after the ruling, down 0.77 percent to $106 at the close of official trading on the Nasdaq, making for a more than 3 percent loss over the past two weeks ahead of the highly anticipated ruling.
“This decision sends a clear message. Member states cannot give unfair tax benefits to selected companies, no matter if European or foreign, large or small,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
“The Commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years,” she added.
Ireland has attracted multinationals over many years by offering extremely favourable sweetheart tax deals to generate much-needed jobs and investment.
But after a three-year investigation Brussels said the arrangement with Apple broke EU laws on state aid.
The findings come amid growing tensions between Washington and Brussels over a series of EU anti-trust investigations targeting other giant US companies such as Google, Amazon, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler.