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European Commission refers Ireland to court over failure to collect €13bn in tax from Apple

Decision 'extremely regrettable', says Irish government

The European Commission has lobbed Ireland into the Euro Court of Justice for refusing to extract from Apple illegal tax benefits worth up to €13bn (£11.5bn, $15bn).

It follows the commission's decision in August last year that Ireland's tax benefits to Apple were illegal under EU state aid rules because it allowed the iGiant to pay substantially less tax than other organizations.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said today: "Ireland has to recover up to €13bn in illegal State aid from Apple. However, more than one year after the Commission adopted this decision, Ireland has still not recovered the money, also not in part. We of course understand that recovery in certain cases may be more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist.

"But Member States need to make sufficient progress to restore competition. That is why we have today decided to refer Ireland to the EU Court for failing to implement our decision."

Ireland's government said it was "extremely disappointing" that the Commission referred the case to court.

In a statement the Department of Finance Ireland said it had "never accepted" the Commission's analysis in the Apple State Aid Decision, but said it was "fully committed" to ensuring that recovery of the alleged Apple state aid takes place without delay and "has committed significant resources to ensuring this is achieved".

"It is extremely regrettable that the Commission has taken this action, especially in relation to a case with such a large scale recovery amount. Ireland has made significant progress on this complex issue and is close to the establishment of an escrow fund, in compliance with all relevant Irish constitutional and European Union law," it said.

Ireland has appealed the Commission's August 2016 decision to the Court of Justice. However, that does not suspend its obligation to recover the taxes.

The Register has asked Apple for a comment. ®

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