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European Commission withdraws legal action against Ireland over €13bn Apple tax bill

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The Irish Government said money owed to it by Apple following a state aid tax ruling by the European Commission had been paid to it pending a legal appeal. Yui Mok/PA.

The Irish Government said money owed to it by Apple following a state aid tax ruling by the European Commission had been paid to it pending a legal appeal. Yui Mok/PA.

The Irish Government said money owed to it by Apple following a state aid tax ruling by the European Commission had been paid to it pending a legal appeal. Yui Mok/PA.

The European Commission has confirmed it will not pursue a legal action against Ireland for being too slow collecting the €13bn Apple tax bill.

The Commission had threatened the action, which was separate to the tax case itself, after the State here failed to collect the funds from the technology giant by an initial deadline of January 3, 2017.

Irish officials had cited the difficulties of structuring a way to hold the money and at the same time insulate tax payers from any losses, during what are expected to be years of legal appeals against the Apple tax decision.

In August 2016, the European Competition Commission had ruled that Ireland granted Apple preferential tax treatments that over decades added up to €13bn, and that this amounted to an illegal aid that must be recouped.

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Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Government here and Apple are appealing the ruling.

Meanwhile, the funds have been paid over by Apple, as of September 6, this year. A total of €14.3bn including interest was paid by Apple into an escrow fund pending the final judgments of the EU courts.

“Taking into account that the payment into the escrow fund of the illegal aid removed the distortion of competition caused by that aid, the Commission has today decided to withdraw the Court action,” the Commission said in a statement.

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