EU launching formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in Ireland

According to a report from Ireland’s, the European Commission has decided to officially launch a formal investigation into Apple’s tax practices in the country (via The Loop). An announcement is expected by EU officials tomorrow:

The European Commission is to open a formal investigation into Apple’s tax arrangements with Ireland… An announcement is expected to be made by Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia tomorrow… EU state aid rules are designed to prevent unfair practices, although it is not clear that countries offering favourable tax terms to companies or industries would violate such rules.

Apple last year faced U.S. Senate hearing on its offshore tax practices in which it denied taking advantage of any tax gimmicks or loopholes in Ireland. The EU shortly after launched an investigation into tax agreements with multinational companies in Ireland and number of other EU countries, while government officials in Ireland denied claims of a special 2% tax deal with Apple.

Later, in October of last year, the SEC in the U.S. ultimately closed its own investigation without establishing any wrong-doing on Apple’s part.