Business Irish

Saturday 21 April 2018

Legal bill to fight EU's Apple tax ruling soars by €270,000 in just three months

Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Damien Eagers
Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Damien Eagers

Colm Kelpie and Sarah Collins

The State spent almost €270,000 in legal fees linked to the Apple tax case in just the last three months of 2016 - around the time it submitted its formal appeal.

William Fry received the bulk of the money, earning €142,186.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan confirmed earlier this year that about €1.8m had been spent fighting the case to date.

The Government is fighting an EU ruling that says Ireland is entitled to €13bn in back taxes from Apple.

The State issued a formal appeal in November against the controversial EU decision.

The case could drag on for years and Mr Noonan has already warned that legal and consultancy fees could increase.

The European Commission last week said Ireland needs to demonstrate progress on recovering the back taxes it says are owned by Apple, warning that the Government was taking too long to collect the money.

In Luxembourg yesterday, Mr Noonan rejected that idea. He said €13bn was a lot of money, and that "quite a lot has happened" to move the case along.

"But the calculation of the exact amount is a very difficult process and we're working closely with the Commission and if the Commission are a little patient, we'll collect the money," Mr Noonan said.

"But there are no real issues between us and the Commission on this.

"But, as I say, to find the legal basis of the exact amount when the sum is as big as €13bn - that takes a little time."

The minister said he is aware that the Government is obliged to collect the money and put it in escrow. "And all I'm saying is that takes time because the amount of money is so big, and it's not clear what the exact amount is yet.

"We're agreeing the basis of the calculation with the Commission, but it's work in progress."

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