As EU gets tough on tax dodging, UK must not become a fat cat tax haven, warn Labour MEPs

Labour MEPs have warned that the UK must not become a post-Brexit tax haven following the European Commission’s record €13 billion (£11.1bn) fining of Apple for unpaid taxes.

The Commission today announced Apple will need to pay €13bn plus interest back to the Irish Treasury following an illegal sweetheart tax deal arranged in 1991. The deal effectively reduced Apple’s tax from the standard rate of 12.5 per cent in Ireland to a much lower level. As this deal was specifically offered to Apple and not its competitors, the European Commission has concluded it was illegal under state aid rules as it offered an unfair advantage in the market.

The repayment follows similar rulings issued against FIAT and Starbucks last year.

Anneliese Dodds MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on taxation, said:

“Once again the EU is showing that it leads the way in the fight for tax justice. If the Commission has found that the Irish government arranged a special sweetheart deal for Apple in the early 1990s, then it is absolutely right to call an end to this practice and demand that Apple repay the money it has avoided in taxes for more than 20 years.

“The Tory government in the UK should take note of today’s landmark decision when it approaches Brexit negotiations – Britain must not become a fat cats’ tax haven where companies can avoid tax and public services suffer from underinvestment.

“Today’s decision should mark a watershed moment in the fight against tax avoidance: the race to the bottom on tax must stop, and we must make sure all companies – whatever their size – are able to compete in a fair environment.

“It is important the Commission continues to resist interference from the US government when dealing with tax affairs in Europe. All multinationals, regardless of their country of origin, must abide by EU competition law if they wish to access the European market.”