(Reuters) – The European Union has accused Ireland of giving Apple Inc. state aid by letting the iPhone maker shelter profits worth tens of billions of dollars from tax, in return for maintaining jobs.
European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told the Dublin government in a letter published on Tuesday that tax deals agreed in 1991 and 2007 appeared to amount to state aid that may have broken EU laws.
“The Commission is of the opinion that through those rulings the Irish authorities confer an advantage on Apple,” Almunia wrote in the letter, which was dated June 11.
Apple said it had received no selective treatment while an Irish government spokesman referred to previous statements saying it followed EU rules. On Monday, when publication of the letter was flagged, the Irish finance department said it was confident it had not breached state aid rules and had responded to the Commission to address “concerns and misunderstandings”.
The Commission said the tax rulings were “reverse engineered” to ensure that Apple had a minimal Irish bill, adding that minutes from meetings involving Irish officials showed that the Irish tax authority did not even attempt to apply international tax rules in its deals with Apple.
Instead, the company’s tax treatment had been “motivated by employment considerations”, the Commission said, citing the minutes of meetings between Apple representatives and Irish tax officials.