The Irish government has confirmed that it has received the full €13.1bn in underpaid tax from Apple, in addition to a further €1.2bn in interest, following the European Commission’s August 2016 ruling that the taxation agreements between Apple and the Irish tax authorities amounted to illegal State Aid.
Reuters reports that the sum would be enough to fund Ireland’s health service for a year, but the country’s Finance Minister insists that the decision will be overturned and the money returned to Apple.
“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,” Paschal Donohoe said in a statement.
The funds have been paid into an escrow accounts with investment managers Goldman Sachs, Amundi and BlackRock managing the cash in the meantime, ensuring that it is put into low-risk investments with a guarantee that the Irish taxpayer would be protected from any losses. BNY Mellon are providing custodian and escrow services.
In October 2017, Ireland was referred to the European Court of Justice for its failure to implement the Commission’s recovery decision. This has now been dropped Competition Commissioner Vestager confirmed in a tweet.
Both Apple and the Irish Government are appealing the Commission’s original ruling. Dublin has consistently and vehemently denied the existence of ‘sweetheart’ tax deals for multinational firms in an effort to attract them to the country. The appeal could take several years but if the ruling is successfully overturned, the money will be returned to Apple.