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Varadkar Expects Progress On Apple Tax Case

by Jason Gorringe,, London

24 November 2017

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said that he expects progress to be made on the collection of the EUR13bn (USD15.3bn) in alleged illegal state aid owed by Apple.

Varadkar told the Irish Parliament that he has met with Apple twice, as has Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. He explained that the Government has indicated to Apple that it wants to establish an escrow fund to hold the funds and that funds should be "paid into that account without further delay."

When asked whether the company had paid anything yet, Varadkar replied, "Not a cent." He did however point out that the account has not yet been established and that Apple has "made provision for it in its 2018 accounts and 2018 is only a few weeks away."

In September 2016, a European Commission investigation concluded that two tax rulings provided by the Irish Government had "substantially and artificially lowered the tax paid by Apple in Ireland since 1991." It estimated the amount of illegal state aid to be recovered by the Irish authorities to be around EUR13bn, plus interest.

Both the Irish Government and Apple have appealed the Commission's ruling. In July, Ireland launched a procurement process for an escrow agent/custodian for the escrow fund. The sums would only be released once the European courts have issued their final ruling on the Government's appeal.

The deadline for Ireland to recover the money expired in January 2017. In October, the Commission referred Ireland to the EU Court of Justice for its failure to do so.

Varadkar also stressed to Parliament that "we do not want to be in a situation where the Irish Government has to take Apple to court because the European Commission is taking the Irish Government to court."

"That message is understood and I would anticipate progress on that in the coming weeks."

TAGS: court | compliance | tax | European Commission | tax compliance | Ireland | tax avoidance | interest | corporation tax | multinationals | transfer pricing | United States | European Union (EU) | Europe | BEPS

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