(Bloomberg) Ireland’s government agreed to fight this week’s European Union decision forcing Apple Inc. to pay it vast tax arrears, ending a squabble which threatened to destabilize Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s administration.
The European Commission ruled that Apple must pay Ireland as much as 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) plus interest after the state illegally slashed the company’s tax bill, in a record crackdown on fiscal loopholes. The final amount payable could be as much as $19 billion, Irish officials said.
While Apple vowed to fight a ruling that it benefited from selective tax treatment, Prime Minister Enda Kenny struggled to persuade independent lawmakers who prop up his government that they should support an appeal aiding the world’s richest company. The appeal was agreed on Friday after a cabinet meeting two days ago was deadlocked.
“The Apple ruling has brought some reputational damage to Ireland,” said Dermot O’Leary, an economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin. “To restore this reputation, the Irish government has little choice but to appeal and lay out the specific reasons why the EC is wrong on this issue.”
While the appeal is now a done deal, the Irish parliament will be recalled on Sept. 7 from its summer recess to discuss the issue.
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