The Irish government is today formally appealing against a European Union ruling that it should have claimed an additional €13B in tax from Apple, which has its European headquarters in the country. The EU ruled that offering Apple a sweetheart tax rate of just 2.5% amounted to illegal state aid.

Apple wasted no time in announcing that it would appeal the judgement soon after it was made, but the Irish government understandably took a little longer to announce that it, too, would be appealing. Deciding that it didn’t actually want an additional €13B in tax revenue would not have been the easiest of decisions, but it concluded that keeping Apple happy and retaining its status as home to the company’s European sales was of greater value.

The Register reports that finance minister Michael Noonan said yesterday that the government would be submitting its appeal today.

The government fundamentally disagrees with the European Commission’s analysis, and the decision left the government no choice but to take an appeal to the European Courts and this will be submitted [today].

It’s not yet known how long it may take for the case to be heard. Whatever the outcome, it now looks unlikely that Apple will be able to continue its practice of funneling all profits from European sales through Ireland, rather than paying tax in the countries in which sales were made.

The issue has generated strong views on both sides of the Atlantic, with a marked divide between U.S. and European views.

Photo: Tithe an Rialtais, home to the Irish Finance Ministry in Dublin (Wikipedia)