E.U. Sues Ireland Over Billions Apple Owes in Tax Revenue

E.U. competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. (Photo: EU2016 NL / Wikimedia Commons)

By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
October / November 2017

Ireland is being sued by the European Union for its failure to collect a year-old bill of €13 billion (over $15 billion) from Apple, Inc. In October, the European Commission referred the country to the European Court of Justice for failing to recoup the money, which was due January 3 but will likely not be collected for another six months.

The European commission presented Apple with the bill in 2016 after ruling that a sweetheart tax arrangement between Ireland and the company equated to illegal state aid. In 2014, Apple paid a corporate tax rate of just 0.005 percent; the usual Irish corporate rate is 12 percent.

“We of course understand that recovery in certain cases may be more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist,” E.U. competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. “But member states need to make sufficient progress to restore competition.”

Ireland and Apple continue to repeal the decision, though both face European scrutiny for resisting rules for tech company taxation. “Until the money is recovered, Apple continues to get an illegal advantage,” Vestager said. ♦

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