Jonathan Ivinson Interviewed on Apple’s Irish Taxes and Brussels’ Harmonization Agenda

In an interview for Switzerland’s Dukascopy Bank’s Dukascopy TV, Akin Gump tax partner Jonathan Ivinson spoke about Brussels’ unhappiness regarding tax competition, specifically the tax regimes of Ireland, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.  Concerning Brussels’ criticism of Apple’s reported tax deals with the Irish government, he discussed Brussels’ agenda for tax harmonization, describing it as “every country having the same tax rate and the same system, and that would ultimately be a much higher tax rate than in Ireland or Luxembourg.  So, that’s really what’s driving this.”

The 21-page decision that the European Commission issued in September alleged that Ireland had pacted with Apple as far back as 1990 to offer advantageous tax rulings on behalf of the company.  Ivinson noted that the reason for the release of this information now “is partly driven by the current political climate, which is, multinationals don’t pay enough tax…In 1991, nobody really focused on that. But the fact is that none of these companies have done anything wrong. All they have done is sought clarification from various governments that the tax treatment they’re expecting to get is what they’ll get before moving large amounts of people into those countries.”

Looking at which companies might next be in the “firing line,” he replied, “Probably any multinational with operations in Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, possibly even Belgium should worry because this is a political attack, and I think the ultimate finding will be that nothing has gone on that’s not inscribed in the law.”