Wednesday 21 November 2018

Brussels drops Apple tax delay case

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Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

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 taxpayers 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.

The Government and Apple are appealing the ruling. Meanwhile, the money has been paid over by Apple. As of September 6 a total of €14.3bn, including interest, is in an escrow fund pending the outcome of the appeals. "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.

Irish Independent

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