Apple Pay has officially expanded to Ireland today for customers of KBC and Ulster Bank, two of the country’s big four banking institutions. The service also works with EU’s Boon prepay system tied to MasterCard. Irish customers who register their Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards via the Wallet app can start using the service to pay securely for goods in “tens of thousands” of stores, including Aldi, Boots, Burger King, Harvey Norman and Lidl.
Apple Pay is also supported in compatible apps and on some websites. The Cupertino company has added related Apple Pay details to its regional website in Italy, signaling an imminent launch in the 60 million people market. Also, major banks have recently gained regulatory approval to launch Apple’s payments service in Taiwan.
Later this week, Apple and the government of Ireland will appeal against the European Union’s $14.5 billion tax ruling targeting Apple’s sweetheart tax deal with Dublin that the EU deemed “illegal state aid.” According to Reuters today, the Cupertino firm will object to the fact that EU regulators ignored established tax experts and common corporate law.
Apple’s legal strategy involves painting itself as a victim of its own success. EU deliberately singled out Apple due to its success and picked a method to maximize the penalty, said Apple’s top lawyer Bruce Sewell.
French tax authorities have recently issued Apple a fine in the amount of 400 million euros (about $422 million), according to L’Express. At the core of the adjustment is Apple’s complex and controversial tax optimization scheme that allows the firm to send back the lion share of its profits to tax-friendly countries such as Ireland.
In August, the European Commission slammed Apple with a tax bill from hell over a sweetheart deal it received from Ireland—which, in the Commission’s view, constitutes “illegal state aid”.
Dublin promptly promised to join Apple’s fight against EU and it’s put its money where its mouth is.
Michael Noonan, Finance Minister in the Irish government, said that Dublin today challenged the EU judgment by submitting an appeal to the European courts in a bid to block the decision, ArsTechnica reports.
Following news earlier this week that the European Commission had ruled that Apple must pay €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in back taxes to the government of Ireland because its sweetheart deal with Dublin that lets it be subjected to a lower tax rate constitutes “illegal state aid,” the Irish government said today it would join Apple in its fight against the ruling.
“Paradoxically, Ireland is determined not to accept the tax windfall, which would be equivalent to what it spent last year on funding its struggling health service,” says the report.
The European Commission has ruled that Apple is on the hook for €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in back taxes as its “sweetheart deal” to pay a lower tax rate in Ireland has been characterized as “illegal state aid”.
Apple is going to appeal the ruling and now CEO Tim Cook has penned an open letter, entitled “A Message to the Apple Community in Europe,” in which he explains Apple’s position in this case, writing he is “confident” that the huge tax bill will be reversed.
At a press conference Tuesday, the European Commission’s competition commissioner Margarethe Vestager announced that the European Union has ordered the government of Ireland to collect up to €13 billion, or about $14.5 billion, in back taxes from Apple. The sum represents Europe’s largest tax penalty and a significant increase over the 1 billion figure floated around ahead of the ruling.