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Apple Will Start Paying Billions in Back Taxes to Ireland

25 April 2018, 03:17 | Hattie Nash

Ireland expects Apple EU tax appeal to be heard before end of year

Ireland signs landmark agreement to recover Apple taxes

In a step towards complying with a European Commission order to pay back taxes to the Irish government, Apple has agreed to transfer roughly €13 billion ($16 billion) into a Dublin escrow account.

Once the deal is signed, Apple can begin payments into an escrow fund set up for the explicit collection of Apple's back taxes.

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The Commission said on Tuesday that it hoped the funds would be recovered fully as soon as possible to allow it to close the EU Court of Justice's action against Ireland for missing that deadline, a spokesman said.

The money will be held in an escrow account meaning the proceeds can not be released until there has been a final determination in the European courts over the validity of the Commission's decision.

In the meantime, the money will be held by an escrow account, Donohoe said.

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Progress toward recovering the money likely saves Ireland from a second ECJ referral that could result in a fine.

Why does Apple have to pay? Furthermore, the European Union has taken Ireland to court over delays in the payment of back taxes, but the Irish government has said it has acted as fast as it could.

"We now find ourselves in the unusual position of being ordered to retroactively pay additional taxes to a government that says we don't owe them any more than we've already paid", Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a 2016 letter.

Apple's general counsel and leading corporate attorney, Bruce Sewell, before the company's initial appeal was even submitted, claimed that Apple had characterized the EU's judgment as a "misunderstanding" about how large corporations like it operate, saying the move was meant to "generate lots of headlines".

Despite the back-and-forth appealing which has gone on for nearly two-years now, it's expected that given the sheer magnitude of the $15 billion being contested, if these appeals continue (and they more than likely will, knowing Apple) then we could be looking at another few years of the same legal drama.

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