Matt Carthy MEP says Government’s foot-dragging on Apple tax to waste more taxpayers’ money
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said the foot-dragging by the Irish government when it comes to recovering Apple’s unpaid tax bill will now waste even more of taxpayers’ money.
Carthy, a member of the Panama Papers inquiry into tax avoidance and tax evasion, was speaking in response to the Commission’s announcement that it is taking Ireland to the European Court of Justice over the government’s failure to collect any of the unpaid tax.
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Carthy said: “The deadline for recovering the unpaid tax was January this year and until the amount is recovered, Apple continues to enjoy an unfair advantage over its competitors.
“Even though the Irish government is appealing the Commission’s ruling, it was still required to take action to collect the tax and put it in an escrow account until the appeal is decided upon.
“The government has options if it encounters practical difficulties in recovering the unpaid Apple tax. It could seek assistance from the Commission; it could at the very least seek to collect a partial sum in a temporary account while it resolves any practical issues. But the government has not collected a cent. It appears to have completely failed to engage with the Commission on this issue and it does not even expect to complete the calculation of the amount owed by Apple until March next year.
“Last year Irish government representatives were hyperventilating over their own claims that the Commission could take the Irish state to the ECJ over water charges. The government suggested all possible steps should be taken to prevent that development.
“That approach contrasts sharply with the foot-dragging by the government when it comes to Apple. Today’s announcement is the inevitable outcome of the government’s approach when it comes to protecting its cosy relationships and sweetheart deals with the wealthiest corporations in the world, at the expense of ordinary people who don’t have the privilege of not paying their taxes. These corporations continue to use the Irish state as a central conduit in their global web of tax havens.
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“If the Irish government then fails to comply with the ECJ ruling, the ECJ can impose penalties, which could cost taxpayers enormous sums.
"The government says going to the ECJ is wholly unnecessary. I agree – it is wholly unnecessary, and it could easily have been avoided if the government just accepted the unpaid tax that Apple owed to the Irish taxpayers in the first place, instead of bending over backwards to try to make sure the richest corporation in the world gets away with industrial-scale tax avoidance."