Apple-Ireland Tax Deals Seen As Breaching EU Rules

Apple Storefront - H 2014
AP Images

Apple Storefront - H 2014

The European Commission believes the country provided illegal state aid, but the tech giant denies any "selective treatment"

European Union regulators said Tuesday that a probe has led to the "preliminary" conclusion that Ireland has given Apple "illegal state support" via special tax arrangements.

The European Commission, the EU's antitrust authority, has been looking at sweetheart tax deals benefiting some businesses. ‎It said that based on the investigation so far, tax deals that the country granted Apple in 1991 and 2007 are illegal.

"Through those rulings the Irish authorities confer an advantage on Apple" that is "granted in a selective manner," the Commission wrote in a letter quoted by the The Wall Street Journal.

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The Commission sent the letter to the Irish government explaining its decision to launch its investigation in June.‎ Apple and other parties have a monthlong period in which to respond. The Commission is then expected to reach a final decision within 18 months or so.

"Apple has received no selective treatment from Irish officials over the years," Apple said in a statement cited by Sky News. "We're subject to the same tax laws as the countless other companies who do business in Ireland."

Twitter: @georgszalai