Apple pays €13bn tax bill in full as appeal progresses

18 Sep 2018

Apple logo. Image: nito/Shutterstock

Apple has deposited the full €13bn tax payment into an escrow account, with interest.

The Department of Finance today (18 September) confirmed that Apple has completed the transfer of €13bn into an escrow account, along with EU interest of approximately €1.2bn. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, TD, said the recovery of alleged State aid is a “significant milestone”.

According to the Department, Apple completed the transfer of funds at the beginning of September, following a commitment from the Government to recover the money by the end of 2018’s third quarter.

Alleged State aid fully recovered

Donohoe said: “While the Government fundamentally disagrees with the commission’s analysis in the Apple State aid decision, and is seeking an annulment of that decision in the European courts, as committed members of the European Union we have always confirmed that we would recover the alleged State aid.

“We have demonstrated this with the recovery of the alleged State Aid, which will be held in the escrow fund pending the outcome of the appeal process before the European courts.”

He added: “It has taken time to establish the infrastructure and legal framework around the escrow fund but this was essential to protect the interests of all parties to the agreement.”

Appeal timelines unclear

The European Commission (EC) initially ruled that Apple had received unfair tax incentives from Ireland in 2016. In October 2017, the EC stated it would be taking Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union over the delays in the recovery of the money.

Both Apple and the Irish Government are appealing the original ruling. The Government has denied the existence of ‘sweetheart’ tax deals for multinational firms in an effort to attract them to the country. The appeal could take several years but if the ruling is successfully overturned, the money will be returned to the US tech giant.

The Government likely hopes that the infringement proceedings announced in October of last year will be withdrawn as the funds are now fully recovered. Payments had commenced in early 2018, and Goldman Sachs, Amundi and BlackRock managed the interest and back taxes. BNY Mellon is providing custodian and escrow services.

Apple logo. Image: nito/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects