S&Ds on Apple illegal state aid decision: "A decisive milestone for the honest taxpayer"

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S&D Euro MPs today congratulated the European Commission for taking a tough stance against tax benefits granted in Ireland to the American company Apple, at the expense of other EU member states.

The Commission has judged that those tax advantages, worth up to €13bn, were illegal state aid; meaning this decision could require the company to pay back this figure of unpaid revenues.

S&D Euro MP and spokesperson on economic, monetary and tax issues, Pervenche Berès said:

"The European Commission's decision sends a clear signal that those tax practices which create a race to the bottom between member states are no longer acceptable.

"After similar Commission decisions against Starbucks in the Netherlands and Fiat in Luxembourg last year, Europe looks less like a tax jungle. Big companies doing business in Europe will have to respect competition law, show solidarity and pay their fair share of tax. Keep up the good work Commissioner Vestager!

"As a legislator, we will make sure that European governments keep working to close the loopholes in the European tax system. We need to use this momentum to set up a comprehensive legal framework in Europe, based on a full, mandatory common corporate consolidated tax base (CCCTB) in the EU, to ensure that profits are taxed where they are generated, and to prevent artificial transfer pricing arrangements."

S&D Group spokesperson on the special tax committees and Panama Papers inquiry committee, Peter Simon added:

"Apple tricked us! But the EU is hitting back. Even last week's 'rattling of the sabres' by US authorities could not change this. The fight against tax avoidance by multinational companies, after precedents were set against Starbucks and Fiat, is now reaching the next phase and entering a new dimension. The changing attitudes regarding corporate taxation are not bowing down to the world's largest corporations.

"A tax rate of 0.05%, dropping down even further to 0.005 % over the last decade, is a slap in the face of the regular taxpayer.

"The European Commission, as the guardian of the Treaties, emphasizes once again: Tax agreements of this kind are not “only” illegitimate, they are simply illegal. This sends a clear message both to the multinationals and to the member states which conclude those tax deals at the expense of others. This is a decisive milestone for the honest taxpayer including those companies who have not profited from such beneficial treatment and for tax justice as such."

S&D co-rapporteur for TAXE2 and PANA committees, Jeppe Kofod, stated:

"Today is an important day in the fight for tax justice. Unlawful tax practices going back over at least a decade have been uncovered. Our demand that the gains from these unlawful arrangements shouldn't be enjoyed by the countries that offer them to multinational companies stands firm.

"As such, it is vital that the tax authorities throughout the EU look into this case and determine whether they might be eligible to recover lost taxes from Apple as well."