On June 11th 2014, the European Commission publicly opened formal State aid investigations into certain multinational companies in a number of EU member states. Ireland is confident that there is no breach of State aid rules in this case and has already issued a formal response to the Commission earlier this month, addressing in detail the concerns and some misunderstandings contained in the Opening Decision. Ireland welcomed that opportunity to clarify important issues about the applicable tax law in this case and to explain that the company concerned did not receive selective treatment and was taxed fully in accordance with the law.
In the case of Ireland, the Commission is focussed on advance opinions provided to a company a number of years ago which address the calculation of the taxable base of profits of this company. The enquiry relates to a technical tax issue in respect of this one company and does not relate to Ireland’s corporation tax rate or the Irish corporate tax system more generally.
Later this week the Commission are due to publish the formal letter that was sent to the Irish authorities in June, setting out the ‘Opening Decision’ in this case. This is simply the next normal procedural step in the State aid investigation process. At this stage, the Commission has not formally decided that there is State aid, only that it is formally examining this case. It is expected that a final decision in relation to this investigation will take a considerable period of time. The purpose of the publication of the Opening Decision is to give interested parties the opportunity to submit comments directly to the European Commission.
As this is an ongoing legal process, Ireland will not be commenting further on any individual aspects of this case.
29 September, 2014