The State and Apple are edging closer to a deal that will see the company pay an alleged figure of €13bn in back taxes, months after an EU deadline.
The Government is set to hold around €13bn in back taxes in escrow from Apple, with an invitation to be sent soon to investment managers and custodians for tender of the fund.
That’s according to The Irish Times, which has reported that the State and the tech giant are close to a deal over the European Commission’s (EC) ruling last year on the non-payment of tax that the latter claims was, in effect, illegal State aid over the span of a decade.
Despite an appeal in place with the EU, the Government has agreed to hold the money in an account until legal proceedings within the courts have finished, something that could take as long as six years.
Since the ruling, both the Government and Apple have been fiercely fighting the claim, and were criticised by the EC last January for missing the deadline to create the escrow account.
Speaking last December, the Government said: “Ireland did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple – the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no State aid was provided. Ireland does not do deals with taxpayers.”
Four parties in the mix
Apple issued its own separate statement in February of this year to say that the EC had “failed to examine all relevant evidence” and “reason the decision adequately”.
The company added that the EC “failed to recognise that the Irish branches carried out only routine functions and were not involved in the development and commercialisation of Apple IP, which drove politics”.
In the past few weeks, the US government has decided to add itself into the legal battle, filing an application with the General Court of the European Union (ECG) to intervene in the case.
There is no indication from the court documents as to whether they were filed under the administration of Barack Obama or Donald Trump.
In relation to this latest agreement between the Irish Government and Apple, both parties have declined to comment, but estimates on the amount of interest owed on the tax bill are less than €2bn.