Ireland Collects More Than 14 Billion Euros From Apple Ahead of Tax Appeal

September 18, 2018 Updated: September 18, 2018

DUBLIN—Ireland has collected 13.1 billion euros ($15.2 billion) in disputed taxes from Apple plus interest of 1.2 billion euros, which it will hold in escrow pending an appeal against a European Union tax ruling, Ireland’s finance minister said Sept. 18.

The European Commission ruled in August 2016 that Apple had received unfair tax incentives. Both Apple and Dublin are appealing against the original ruling, saying the iPhone maker’s tax treatment was in line with Irish and EU law.

While the 14.3 billion euros ($16.6 billion) would be enough to fund the country’s health service for a year, the government says it’s never given any company a special deal, and that the tax appeal is important to preserve Ireland’s attractiveness for investment.

“While the government fundamentally disagrees with the Commission’s analysis and is seeking an annulment of that decision, as committed members of the European Union, we have always confirmed that we would recover the alleged State aid,” Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe said in a statement.

The finance ministry, which began collecting the back taxes in a series of payments in May, estimated last year that the total amount could have reached 15 billion euros, including EU interest.

To oversee the disputed cash, Ireland has appointed investment managers to make low-risk investment decisions that will protect Irish taxpayers from any potential losses, Donohoe said.

For its part, the commission said it will scrap the lawsuit that it initiated against Ireland last year because of delays in recovering the money.

“In light of the full payment by Apple of the illegal state aid it had received from Ireland, Commissioner [Margrethe] Vestager will be proposing to the College of Commissioners the withdrawal of this court action,” commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso said in an email.

Ireland’s finance ministry said its appeal has been granted priority status and is progressing through the various stages of private written proceedings.

By Padraic Halpin