The Irish government has announced the signing with Apple of an agreement allowing the payment of 13 billion euros of tax benefits deemed undue by the European Union. The Commission had asked Ireland more than a year ago to start recovering the funds.
The agreement, whose formal signing was scheduled for the end of the day on Tuesday, allows for the establishment of an escrow account into which will be transferred the money labelled as « undue tax benefits » by the European executive .
Brussels estimates that the US company has paid too little tax in Ireland because of a bespoke agreement with the country’s authorities, which allowed it to tax only a tiny part of the billions earned in Europe. Ireland is home to the European headquarters of Apple, which records all the profits made in this geographical area as well as in Africa, the Middle East and India.
The 13 billion euros should be transferred to an escrow account by the end of the third quarter, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said in a statement. The minister nevertheless reiterated that Dublin « challenges [the] arbitration » of the European Commission, considering the tax conditions surrounding the activity of the apple brand in Ireland as legal. As a Member State, however, Ireland intends to « comply well with its legal obligations ».
The Irish government will keep the money in a blocked account pending the outcome of an appeal against European decision to impose the refund on Dublin.