Tech giant Apple has not paid the $13.9 billion owed to Ireland, according to the European Union.
Speaking to CNBC, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, “Well the recovery is not done yet but we have been working with the Irish authorizes and we can see that they are moving forward to do the recovery of the unpaid taxes.”
Vestager explained some of the issues faced when trying to recoup the taxes, saying, “It’s a tricky thing to do because it’s a large sum so of course you have to figure out how to do that. It’s not as an escrow account in some of the other cases where it might be 25 or 30 million euros … and therefore I do respect that it’s a complicated matter and it may take a little more time.”
The EU Competition Commission ruled last year that Apple must pay $13.9 billion owed to Ireland as it was found that the tech giant was paying as little as 0.005 percent tax in Ireland in 2014. Apple had until January 3rd to pay the tax bill into an escrow account, a deadline which has since been missed.
A spokesperson from Ireland’s Ministry of Finance told CNBC, “We are continuing to make progress of the recovery from Apple with the full cooperation of the company and the EU Commission. The Commission are satisfied with the progress we are making. We have committed to complying with the decision and we fully intend doing that.”
Both Apple and Ireland are planning on fighting the EU decision in court. When asked for comment by CNBC, Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan said, “The appeal is in now and it’ll go to a European ordinary court first and then whoever loses will probably appeal it to the European Court of Justice. So you’re looking at a four-year time frame, five-year time frame. (A) slow bicycle race between the Apple case and Brexit seems to be emerging now. Let’s see which will reach the destination first.”
Noonan previously stated his disapproval of the EU’s ruling, telling CNBC in August, “We stand by the legitimacy of what was done in the past … we think the Commission is getting involved in what is the competence of sovereign governments in Europe.”
“This is an approach through the back door to try and influence tax policy through competition law,” he said.
Speaking to the Irish Independent last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the ruling was “total political crap” which has “no basis in law or in fact.”