Apple tax case has cost Irish Government €7.1m and the bill is rising

31 May 2019

Apple store. Image: bedobedo/Depositphotos

Well, how do you like them apples? Government official tells Public Accounts Committee the cost so far.

The costs of appealing the Apple tax case are mounting and, so far, the case has cost the Irish exchequer €7.1m.

That’s according to Derek Moran, secretary general of the Department of Finance, who was responding to questions from Fine Gael TD Peter Burke at Dáil Éireann yesterday (30 May).

The €14.3bn paid by Apple in backdated taxes and interest to Ireland was deposited in an escrow account last year.

Both Apple and Ireland are appealing the State aid allegations made by European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who claimed in 2016 that Apple’s tax benefits in Ireland are illegal.

Upsetting the Apple cart

Just three years in and with a bill already surpassing the €7m mark, the costs are set to rise.

“This could take many years,” Moran told the Public Accounts Committee.

“We had an expectation of having a preliminary hearing this side of the summer, but that hasn’t happened.

“In my experience, by the time this gets through the full process of litigation, up to and including the ECJ [European Court of Justice], this will probably be several years.”

Moran said that he was unaware of a similar case of the scale and magnitude of Apple’s.

It is understood that at least €3.7m of the €7.1m bill so far was related to the establishment of the escrow account. €2.3m has been spent on legal services, €90,000 on translations and €60,000 on other expenses.

Moran said that the Department of Finance does not have a “fixed projection” of what the final costs will be, but he estimated the legal costs to the Irish State will be significantly more than the €3.4m incurred so far.

Apple store. Image: bedobedo/Depositphotos

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