So the European Commission has concluded that successive Irish governments granted extraordinarily lenient tax benefits over the course of three decades to the American tech-company, Apple Inc., in order to secure its operational presence in Ireland. The commission judged that “selective treatment” of the corporation allowed it to pay an average tax rate of 1% on profits derived from the European Union. That particular figure dropped to as low as 0.005% in 2014, which meant that Apple was effectively paying zero tax to the Irish state while plans were being laid for the imposition of double-taxation on the Irish people through so-called water charges. The old political acronym of GUBU, grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented, springs to mind.
Despite claims to contrary – by the coalition government and political establishment – Brussels has made it clear that the expected €13 billion in back-taxes from Apple for the period of 2004 to 2014 (plus up to €9 billion in possible interest) will be available to the Ireland to spend in whatever budgetary or capital investment manner it chooses. Of course the right-wing consensus is in full tilt against this unexpected judgement, one of the few occasions in world history were the leaders of a nation state actively avoid taking a no-strings attached windfall the equivalent of a sizeable chunk of their country’s gross national income (GNP). Much more here.