Ireland ‘taking too long’ to collect Apple tax and may face court

€13 billion must be recovered from Apple despite ongoing Irish appeal

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Photograph: EPA

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Photograph: EPA

 

The European Commission expects the State to make “material progress to implement recovery” of Apple taxes as soon as possible or it could risk being referred to EU courts.

A spokesman for the commission said: “If member states fail to meet their obligation, the commission may decide to refer them to the EU courts for failure to implement a state aid decision, in line with the EU Treaty.”

Irish officials remain in regular contact with the commission and Apple as the State works to ensure that it complies with its tax recovery obligations, a spokeswoman for the Department of Finance said.

This response comes after the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, told CNBC that Irish authorities are taking too long to recover unpaid taxes from Apple and she hopes Ireland will recover the money “very soon”.

Last August the European Commission ruled that Ireland had granted illegal state aid to Apple and therefore had to collect roughly €13 billion in taxes plus EU interest. The Government has lodged an application in the General Court of the European Union in appeal of the commission’s decision.

Formal deadline

Commenting on the requirement to recover the taxes, the Department of Finance spokeswomen added: “Despite this appeal, Ireland is required to comply with the binding articles of the commission’s final decision and ensure that the alleged aid is recovered from Apple.”

“Although the formal deadline has now passed, it is not unusual or uncommon for member states to require more time for recovery,” she said.

However, the commission spokesman said Ireland “must demonstrate progress on recovery and a coherent strategy to enforce the decision within the set deadline.”

He also noted that “the commission is always ready to support the member state in the recovery process and gives consideration to the fact that recovery in certain cases may be more complex than in others, and thus may require some more time.”

The original deadline for Ireland to implement the commission’s decision of last August was January 3rd.