EU states seek share of Apple’s €13 billion tax bill
Spain is expected to raise the issue as finance ministers gather for first time since ruling
Several EU member states are seeking a share of the €13bn which Apple has been ordered to repay the Irish Government. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Spain, which is under pressure to reach EU-imposed budget deficit targets, is expected to raise the issue today as European finance ministers gather for the first time since the European Commission’s competition ruling against Ireland.
“Tax rulings are having a budgetary impact in Spain,” said a senior Spanish finance ministry source.
“When your revenues are falling and you have public deficit problems every euro counts,” said the source, adding that the Spanish government was currently making a calculation about how much tax it may be owed.
Concerns from Madrid were echoed by Austria’s finance minister Hans Joerg Schelling yesterday, who said his country, along with Italy and France, would also examine whether they were entitled to a portion of the €13 billion.
Announcing the record state-aid ruling against Ireland last week, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that other EU countries – and the US – could be entitled to some of the unpaid taxes that it ruled were due to Ireland.
But competition officials say the question of how countries might access unpaid taxes is a matter for national tax authorities, and not the competition commissioner.
With elections due in a number of European countries next year, finance ministries are anxious to display their willingness to pursue unpaid taxes.
But experts say that any serious move to recoup the funds would have to wait until the full Apple ruling was published and possibly until the appeal by Apple and Ireland went through the European courts.