Ireland Seeks Custodian for Apple Cash as Collection Nears

Updated on
  • Apple taxes will be held in escrow pending appeal of EU ruling
  • EU ruled Apple owed Ireland as much as $15 billion in taxes

The Irish government is setting up a fund to manage the estimated 13 billion euros ($15.2 billion) it will collect from Apple Inc. in back taxes, nearly a year after the European Commission ruled the country had provided a sweetheart deal on tax to the U.S. firm.

The government and Apple will jointly appoint a custodian to hold the money to be deposited by the iPhone maker, the finance ministry said in an emailed statement. The funds will be held in escrow pending appeals by Apple and Ireland, which could take years. One or more investment managers will also be hired to manage the money.

“Commencement of this procurement process represents a significant milestone and follows months of intensive discussions between Ireland, Apple and the European Commission on the recovery process,” the finance ministry said.

The EU’s Competition Commission ruled in August that Ireland gave Apple a special deal on corporation tax, breaking state-aid rules. That meant Apple would have to pay as much as 13 billion euros in back taxes.

Ireland was supposed to have collected the funds by January. Irish officials are working intensively to comply with its recovery obligations “as soon as possible, and remain in regular contact with the European Commission and Apple on all aspects of this process,” the ministry said.

“The European Commission’s case against Ireland has never been about how much Apple pays in taxes, it’s about which government gets the money,” said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “The United States government, the Irish government and Apple all agree we’ve paid our taxes according the law. Since virtually all of our research and development takes place in the United States, according to the law, we pay the majority of our taxes in the U.S.”

(Updates with Apple comment in sixth paragraph.)
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