Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Ireland Remains in the Dark on Size of Any Apple Tax Repayment

  • Irish still braced for adverse decision after Vestager meeting
  • EU to release decision in September or October, Noonan says

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan says the European Commission has offered no clues of the scale of any repayment order that may be imposed on Apple Inc. over the iPhone maker’s tax arrangements in Ireland.

Noonan met with EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager in Brussels this week to discuss her probe into Ireland, and was told a decision may come in September or October.

“We’ve no indication which way it’s going to go yet,” Noonan told reporters in Dublin on Thursday. “We’ll get information in due course and then we’ll see.”

Ireland continues to brace for an adverse finding following the meeting with Vestager, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Ireland will appeal any repayment decision, no matter how much Apple must repay, the person said, who declined to comment because the process is still ongoing. The EU opened the Apple probe in 2014, and, in preliminary findings, said its tax arrangements were improperly designed to give the company a financial boost in exchange for jobs in Ireland.

Apple told a European Parliament panel earlier this year that it has “paid every cent of tax that is due in Ireland.”

In a worst-case scenario, Apple may face a $19 billion bill if the government ultimately loses and is forced to recoup tax from the company, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Rod Hall. Matt Larson of Bloomberg Intelligence puts the figure at more than $8 billion.

Brussels lawyers speculate that the final amount could be much less, in the hundreds of millions range -- large enough to send a message to companies like Apple and the countries that dole out tax breaks, but not too large to risk creating havoc in case the decisions get overturned in the EU courts.

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