Apple starts paying back tax in Ireland

unsplash-logoMarkus Spiske

The EU’s highest court recently ruled that Trump’s administration and the US treasury department had no direct relationship in the tax repayment from Apple, giving reason to the decision from the European Commission. Apple will have to repay around 13 billion euros in taxes, plus interest, to Ireland.

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Apple has finally started paying back the 13 billion euros in unpaid taxes, as well as interest, to the Irish government. The total amount to be paid back hovers around 14 billion euros.

Apple transferred 1.5 billion euros to the bank account set up by the Irish state, and the Irish government expects to have fully recovered the money by the end of the year.

The original deadline set by the European Commission to get back the money was January 2017. Setting up an account to hold such a considerable amount of money was complex, delaying the project until now. The interference from the US government didn’t help either.

In 2016, the European Commission determined that Apple had benefited from illegal tax benefits in Ireland from 2003 to 2014 and ordered the country to get back the money. With the Irish government not cooperating, the case was then moved to the European Court of Justice, attacking the state itself.

Now, both the government and Apple are disputing the EC decision. A few months ago, even the US government tried to intervene. Some days ago, the EU Court of Justice rejected this request. 

The irony in this story is how Ireland had to be bailed-out after the 2008 crisis, getting 67.5 billion euros in funding from the commonly known “Troika” (European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) to help national Irish banks. Since leaving the program at the end of 2013, the country has repaid part of the loan, with around 45 billion left to pay back.

And that’s where the irony comes from. A state that had to be rescued by the “Troika”, using European money, is trying to give tax benefits to an American corporation who already pays next to no tax in most European countries.

If we look at it with numbers, 14 billion euros in unpaid tax is close to 30% of the amount needed to fully repay the debt with the “Troika”. And the Irish government is trying to fight the EC decision to let Apple get away with it….