Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Apple agrees to pay $15B in back taxes to Ireland

Apple agrees to pay $15B in back taxes to Ireland

American tech firm Apple has confirmed that it's to comply with a ruling from the European Commission and pay Ireland billions owed in taxes.

Apple filed an appeal against the Commission's ruling in December 2016, and the company accused outspoken EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager of using Apple as a "convenient target" to make headlines.

The European Commission ruled in 2016 that the tax arrangement was illegal under EU state aid rules, but Apple and Ireland have both appealed the order. The Commission ordered Ireland to collect back taxes for the years 2003-2014, which it estimated to be as much 13 billion euros plus interest.

The Commission in October had routinely initiated proceedings against the Government for its failure to recover the tax, which had been ruled by the Commission as an illegal favouring of the company by the Irish authorities.

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Apple may or may not be losing its tax advantage in Ireland, but the company has apparently been exploring other options for tax havens in Europe.

Ireland's minister of finance, Mr. Paschal L. Donohoe, told reporters on Monday that he expected payments in the first quarter of 2018.

As a result of both parties contesting the ruling, the matter is now awaiting a European Court of Justice decision, and the money will be paid into the escrow account in the interim. "We remain confident the General Court of the European Union will overturn the Commission's decision once it has reviewed all the evidence".

Ireland and Apple have reached an agreement that will see the technology giant start paying the EUR13bn (USD15.4bn) it is alleged to owe in back taxes.

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