Apple to start paying €13bn in back taxes to Ireland within two months

23 Feb 2018

Apple Store, London. Image: R Classen/Shutterstock

Apple money to go into an account as plans to appeal EU decision gather momentum.

Apple will pay €13bn ($15bn) into an escrow account established by the Irish Government within the next two months to satisfy EU demands.

Officials at the Department of Finance will shortly announce the identity of a custodian agent to receive €13bn in back taxes, which they have been ordered to collect from Apple by the EU.

Future Human

It is understood that establishing an escrow account for the collection of the funds has cost the Irish State €2.5m so far.

In 2016, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager ordered the Irish Government to retrieve €13bn that the EU claims Apple avoided paying, thanks to alleged sweetheart deals.

“This selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1pc on its European profits in 2003, down to 0.005pc in 2014,” she said at the time.

Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed any wrongdoing, saying: “It’s maddening. It’s disappointing. It’s clear it comes from a political base and has no basis in fact.”

Both Apple and the Irish Government vowed to fight the order in the highest EU courts.

War chest

But, in the meantime, the money has to be stored in an escrow account in response to the threat of legal proceedings against Ireland over the non-collection of the back taxes so far.

It is understood that no government around the world has contacted the Irish Government claiming a share of the €13bn war chest.

“Over 95pc of the calculations are completed and we have agreed with the commission that all our calculations will be with them by the end of April,” Niall Cody, head of the Revenue Commissioners, told the Public Accounts Committee yesterday (22 February).

The process of securing investment managers to manage the fund will be completed next month, he said.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook in the UK are set to face a significant tax shake-up from the government in sweeping new changes planned by financial secretary to the treasury, Mel Stride.

The new tax regime will see large tech companies such as Facebook and Google pay taxes on their revenues rather than profits, which are smaller figures.

In the EU, countries such as France are also attempting to introduce a revenue tax that makes it harder for US tech giants to cut tax bills by channelling profits between countries.

Apple Store, London. Image: R Classen/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years