Chartered Accountants Ireland said today's decision by the General Court of the European Union in the Apple case recognises "commercial realities and principles of fairness over legal technicalities". 

Brian Keegan, Director of Public Policy at Chartered Accountants Ireland, said an initial reading of the decision suggests that the court did not accept the Commission's contention that the administrative decisions in the Apple case were flawed. 

"The Commission had not challenged Ireland's tax laws but rather how they were applied. The outcome vindicates Ireland's adherence, not just to Irish but also to European rules when levying taxation," Brian Keegan said.

Mr Keegan also said he hoped the Commission will accept the decision of the General Court of the European Union, and not seek to damage Ireland's reputation further with protracted legal proceedings. 

Commenting on today's decision, Ibec's chief executive Danny McCoy said the business group wants Ireland to be the best place in the world as a business location. 

"As such, it is crucial for all businesses, multinational and indigenous, that Ireland's tax system is, and is seen to be, transparent and equitable," Mr McCoy added.

Meanwhile, the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland said it welcomed today's decision by the General Court of the European Union on its ruling in favour of the appeal by Ireland.

Mark Redmond, chief executive of American Chamber, said it had fully supported the Government's decision to appeal the original ruling. 

"As the global economy edges toward a recovery from the Covid crisis, it is crucial for future growth that the European Union maintains its hard won global reputation as an inward investment destination underpinned by key pillars including certainty and transparency," Mr Redmond added.

Oxfam Ireland has called on the Government to urgently address what it called "continued and extreme corporate tax avoidance". 

Michael McCarthy Flynn, Oxfam Ireland's Senior Policy and Research Coordinator, said that despite today's ruling there is no disputing the fact that Apple received significant tax reductions through tax rulings made by the Irish tax authorities. 

He said the Apple case highlights the extreme nature of corporate tax avoidance facilitated by Ireland, for which there is clear and growing evidence outside of the Apple case alone. 

"These repeated cases of tax avoidance point to the need for more fundamental tax reforms at EU and global level," Mr McCarthy Flynn said.

"These include a digital service tax, a minimum effective tax rate, effective measures against tax havens and new rules that require companies to disclose where they generate their profits and where they pay their taxes, for each country they operate in. This would give governments and civil society the ability to hold companies to account," he said.

"The billions raised through corporate tax has the potential to benefit all citizens of Ireland at a time when need has never been greater, while clear and transparent tax systems would go someway towards restoring people’s frayed trust in a global tax system that favours large multinationals," he added.

Meanwhile, Peter Vale, a tax partner at Grant Thornton Ireland, said that from a technical perspective today's verdict looks robust.

Mr Vale said that the global tax mindset has changed remarkably in recent years, with immoral tax planning and potential reputational damage emerging as new thematic concepts in the tax world. 

"It is no longer possible to shelter profits in a jurisdiction with minimal substance. There is now a much closer alignment of taxable profits and substance - something which has benefitted Ireland in recent years given the considerable presence many multinational corporations have here," he said.

"The ruling appears to be a comprehensive victory for Ireland and Apple," he added.

Tom Woods, Head of Tax at KPMG, said that in the company's view, the EU General Court was correct in its decision today.

"The decision is an endorsement of the Irish tax regime and its administration over a long number of years," he said. 

He noted that the European Commission now has two months and ten days to appeal the decision. 

"The initial indication is that it is a clear ruling in the taxpayer's favour. It is worth nothing that the outcome should not, in any event, have widespread implications for Ireland's corporation tax or transfer pricing regime," he added.