Apple wants to extend in Ireland, even if it's under scrutiny by regulators in Europe. Later this year, the Cupertino-based company awaits a European ruling concerning its tax arrangements with the Irish government.
As the EU ruling looms, Apple aims to raise a new building fit for 1,000 new employees in the Southern Ireland province of Cork, which already hosts an Apple development campus. The new construction is to be operational by 2017, the country's inward investment agency (IDA) declared.
"Apple will always be proud to call Ireland home," CEO of Apple, Tim Cook affirmed during a speech at Trinity College in Dublin.
The relationship between Ireland and Apple dates back to 1980, when the California-based company first opened its offices in Ireland. In 2015, the tech giant now employs over 5,000 people in Cork alone, a number that increased by 25 percent over last year.
The Cork building sector welcomes the Apple campus expansion idea, as this means an important mobilization for both capital and workforce. Apple programmed another investment in Ireland earlier this year, in form of a new 850-million-euro data center that should offer 100 extra IT jobs.
Meanwhile, European antitrust regulators are investigating how taxation law was applied to the American company, which is known to pay preferential profit fees in Ireland. The European country has a regular tax rate of 12.5 percent, but Apple somehow paid an average tax rate of only 2.5 percent. Non-U.S. profits of $109 billion were reported in Ireland between 2009 and 2014 and were allegedly under-taxed.
Michael Noonan, the Irish Finance Minister, stated that a ruling about the tax arrangement between his country and Apple will come sometime after Christmas. In 2014, Noonan told the media that in his opinion, the state aid allegations have a big chance to be dropped.
The Irish government made it clear that it will legally pursue any European decision against Apple to the European Union Court of Justice.
Should Apple be found guilty of using "tax gimmicks," a multi-million Euro penalty could be in store.
A couple of precedents exist around the European Union. A ruling of the European Commission enforced the recovery of around $32.23 million from American coffee chain Starbucks in the Netherlands, while Luxembourg has to recover a hefty sum from car manufacturer Fiat Chrysler due to illegitimate tax deals.
The European Commission evaluates the Luxembourg authorities for tax arrangements and this time e-commerce giant Amazon is targeted, alongside Apple. The verdict is still pending.