Apple will start paying its enormous E.U. tax bill in March

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Apple was handed its massive tax bill in the middle of 2016.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple will pay its 13 billion euros ($15.5 billion) tax bill between March and September this year, Ireland’s Department of Finance Secretary General Derek Moran has told the country’s Public Accounts Committee.

The European Commission ordered the Irish government to recover the money from Apple after ruling that it received illegal state aid in Ireland. While Ireland is still appealing the decision, it must still collect the money, which will then be placed in an escrow account until the dispute is settled.

In a letter to the Public Accounts Committee, Moran detailed the broad dates of the payment, but said it could not give an exact timeline. “Given the scale and the bespoke nature of the establishment of the recovery process at this stage it is not possible to provide a definite date for the completion of the collection of the alleged aid,” he wrote.

“However, identification of the escrow agent/custodian by the end of March 2018 will then allow for a payment into the escrow fund account, with payments continuing through the course of April, May and June and up to the end of September 2018.”

The statistical office for the E.U., Eurostat, has confirmed the because the fund is being disputed, it won’t be included in figures concerning Ireland’s national debt or income.

Apple vs. the European Union

The European Union handed Apple its enormous tax bill in August 2016, claiming that the company took advantage of illegal state aid that allowed it to route profits through Ireland.

The investigation alleged that Apple paid the equivalent of as little as 0.005 percent on all European profits in 2014. Despite the payment being owed back in January, however, both Ireland and Apple have continued to argue against it.

This led to the European Commission suing Ireland in October of this year. European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager noted that, “We understand that recovery in certain cases maybe more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist. But member states need to make sufficient progress to restore competition.”

According to a separate news story today, Ireland has so far spent 4.6 million euros ($5.6 million) in legal bills, tax advice, and translation costs while fighting its corner.

Apple has continued to argue that it pays every cent that it owes, and reminded critics that it is the world’s largest tax payer. (Which, as the world’s most valuable company, is to be expected!)

In a separate tax-related matter, Apple Europe recently agreed to pay an additional $186 million, including interest on unpaid tax, after an “extensive audit” by HM Revenue and Customs, the U.K. government department responsible for the collection of taxes.

Source: RTE.ie