EU Says Ireland Gave Apple Sweetheart Tax Deals

Tim Cook and U2, 2014.
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Apple CEO Tim Cook greets the crowd with U2 singer Bono (2nd R) as The Edge (2nd L) and Larry Mullen Jr look on during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. 

European Union regulators said Tuesday that a probe has led to the "preliminary" conclusion that Ireland has given Apple "illegal state support" via special tax arrangements.

The European Commission, the EU's antitrust authority, has been looking at sweetheart tax deals benefiting some businesses. ?It said that based on the investigation so far, tax deals that the country granted Apple in 1991 and 2007 are illegal.

"Through those rulings the Irish authorities confer an advantage on Apple" that is "granted in a selective manner," the Commission wrote in a letter quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

The Commission sent the letter to the Irish government explaining its decision to launch its investigation in June.? Apple and other parties have a month to comment once a comment period launches. The Commission is then expected to reach a final decision within 18 months or so.

"Apple has received no selective treatment from Irish officials over the years," Apple said in a statement cited by Sky News. "We're subject to the same tax laws as the countless other companies who do business in Ireland."

This article was first published by The Hollywood Reporter