IRELAND APPLE HQ.jpg
A May 14 2015 file photo of the exterior of Apple's European headquarters building in Hollyhill, on the outskirt of Cork, southern Ireland.
Photograph: EPA/DAVID KEANE UK AND IRELAND OUT

The Irish government called Wednesday for parliamentary support in its appeal against the European Commission, which ruled last week that Ireland granted billions of dollars in illegal tax favours to US technology giant Apple.

The appeal was necessary to "defend the integrity of the tax system," Minister for Finance Michael Noonan told lawmakers.

The European Commission's 150-page ruling stated that Ireland had granted Apple illegal state aid worth 13 billion euros (14.5 billion dollars).

The parliament, recalled for a special early session, needs to approve the government's appeal for legal action to go forward.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan told the Dail that the government's position has always been that the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no state aid was provided.

The commission argues that "selective treatment" allowed Apple to pay a tax rate of 1 per cent on European Union profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014.

Noonan said the government was appealing the ruling to defend Ireland's tax system and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules into member states' taxation policy.

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