Talk of a "special rate" moves the understanding of what happened in Ireland backwards relative to much of the earlier discussion about tax.
What allowed Apple to pay little tax was the “double Irish” system, explained here independent.ie/irish-news/how…
As Jim Stewart says “Irish tax law has been amended to ensure that firms cannot be stateless.”
And the evidence (including GDP and tax figures) suggests Apple moved much of this profit in to Ireland in 2015 and is now paying tax on it.
Jim Stewart captures the crux of the issue well. irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/ana…
There are 2 definitions of “illegitimate”. One is morally bad. Another is “illegal”. Imho the double Irish was morally bad but it was legal
Reputational damage from failing to appeal and accepting the money? Less than some are saying: Apple are already paying more tax in Ireland.
But the Irish government will probably expect the Commission ruling to be overturned and so won’t think they will ever see the money.
And failing to appeal would call into question lots of other tax judgements made by the Irish tax authorities.
My hope? Apple lose their case and Ireland gets the money while making clear it had not intended to mislead with the advice given to Apple.
My expectation? Ireland and Apple appeal. Case goes on for ever and the Commission decision is overturned.