Apple forced to give Ireland $15 billion that it doesn't actually want

Ireland is now encouraging the European Commission to let it give back the billions of dollars

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 05 December 2017 18:20
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Apple CEO Tim Cook waves as he arrives on stage to deliver his keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 8, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook waves as he arrives on stage to deliver his keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 8, 2015

Apple will give Ireland $15 billion – but it doesn't actually want it.

The country will hold the 13 billion euros in a special account and then hopefully return it, once the Court of Justice of the European Union says that it doesn't actually need to pay it.

The European Commission told Ireland that it needed to collect the money from Apple because of a tax ruling. But neither Apple or Ireland actually wants that payment to happen – Ireland because it thinks it has paid enough and wants to remain attractive to companies, and Apple because it thinks it has paid all it needs to.

The government said in a statement Monday that an agreement had been reached "in relation to the framework of the principles that will govern the escrow arrangements."

The European Commission had ordered Ireland to collect the money after concluding that two Irish tax rulings allowed Apple to pay less tax than other businesses — thus giving them an unfair advantage. The Commission ordered Ireland to collect back taxes for the years 2003-2014, which it estimated to be as much 13 billion euros plus interest.

Ireland disagreed with the Commission's analysis and appealed the decision.

Apple said in a statement that it remains confident the court will overturn the commission's decision once it has reviewed the evidence.

"The Commission's case against Ireland has never been about how much Apple pays in taxes, it's about which government gets the money," Apple said in a statement. "The United States government and the Irish government both agree we've paid our taxes according to the law."

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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