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apple tax

The EU is taking Ireland to court over its failure to recover €13 billion from Apple

The government said it is “extremely disappointed” by the move.

IRELAND WILL BE referred to the European Court of Justice over its failure to collect €13 billion in taxes from US tech giant Apple.

Last year, the European Commission said that Ireland provided Apple with illegal state aid worth €13 billion over a period of about a decade. It ordered Ireland to recover this amount from the company.

However over a year after the initial decision, Ireland has still not recovered the funds – which it was required to hold in an escrow account pending an appeal over the ruling. Both Apple and the Irish government are fighting the EU decision.

In a statement, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager today said: “Ireland has to recover up to €13 billion in illegal state aid from Apple.

“However, more than one year after the commission adopted this decision, Ireland has still not recovered the money, also not in part.”

She added: “We of course understand that recovery in certain cases may be more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist. But member states need to make sufficient progress to restore competition.

That is why we have today decided to refer Ireland to the EU Court for failing to implement our decision.

The deadline for Ireland to implement the commission’s decision on Apple’s tax treatment was four months from the official notification, in January 2017.

“Until the illegal aid is recovered, the company in question continues to benefit from an illegal advantage, which is why recovery must happen as quickly as possible,” the commission said.

Belgium EU Apple Margrethe Vestager Virginia Mayo / PA Images Virginia Mayo / PA Images / PA Images

“Although Ireland has made progress on the calculation of the exact amount of the illegal aid granted to Apple, it is only planning to conclude this work by March 2018 at the earliest.

“The commission has therefore decided to refer Ireland to the Court of Justice for failure to implement the commission decision.”


In a statement, the Department of Finance said it is “extremely disappointing” that the commission has taken against Ireland.

“Irish officials and experts have been engaged in intensive work to ensure that the state complies with all its recovery obligations as soon as possible, and have been in constant contact with the European Commission and Apple on all aspects of this process for over a year,” it said.

It is extremely regrettable that the commission has taken this action, especially in relation to a case with such a large scale recovery amount.

“Ireland has made significant progress on this complex issue and is close to the establishment of an escrow fund, in compliance with all relevant Irish constitutional and European Union law.

“The work on the establishment of the escrow fund to deal with the unprecedented recovery amount will continue, notwithstanding the fact that commission has taken this wholly unnecessary step.”

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Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on

Read: How much has Ireland’s Apple tax appeal cost so far? Over €3.6 million and counting

Read: Ireland is looking for someone to hold onto the €15 billion from Apple’s tax bill

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