Ireland expects to start collecting €13bn in back taxes from Apple early in 2018, more than a year after the deadline set by the European Commission for the country to recover the money.

In August 2016, European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager found the tax deal struck between the iPhone maker and Ireland which ran for the decade from 2003 to 2014 was illegal state aid, and ordered Dublin to claw back a record €13bn plus interest by January this year. But Apple and Ireland deny the allegations and have appealed the decision to the European courts, leading to a delay in collecting the money while the terms of an agreement to hold the tax in escrow were agreed between Irish ministers and the company.

“We have now reached agreement with Apple in relation to the principles for the operation of the escrow fund,” said Paschal Donohoe, Irish Finance Minister. “We expect that (tendering) work to conclude across next January and then we expect that money will begin to be transmitted into the account from Apple across the first quarter of next year”.

The minister was in Brussels to attend regular meetings of the bloc’s finance ministers. He will also meet Ms Vestager to “update” her on the Dublin’s progress in recovering the tax.

Mr Donohoe said “Across the period in which we are defending the (commission’s) ruling we will be complying with our obligations in terms of collecting the money from Apple”.

However, no money has yet been recovered. In October, nine months after the January deadline, the commission referred Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover any of the money.

The commission said: “More than one-year after the Commission decision, Ireland has still not recovered the illegal aid, also not in part. This is why the Commission decided to refer Ireland to the EU Court … we hope that we can work constructively with the Irish authorities to make sure that recovery is completed as soon as possible. That would also allow us to close this procedure.”

Apple said: “We have a dedicated team working diligently and expeditiously with Ireland on the process the European Commission has mandated. We remain confident the General Court of the EU will overturn the Commission’s decision once it has reviewed all the evidence.”

(Photo: Reuters)

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