EU sues Ireland over Apple billions as tax tensions flare up

DUBLINIreland is being sued by the European Union (EU) authorities for failing to collect a year-old bill of as much as €13 billion (RM64.61 billion) from Apple Inc in a move that risks escalating tensions over the nation’s tax policies.

The European Commission yesterday referred Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recoup the Apple bill, which was first reported by Bloomberg News on Monday. The money, which was initially due by Jan 3, won’t be collected for another six months at least, the EU said.

“We of course understand that recovery in certain cases may be more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist,” EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in an emailed statement. “But member states need to make sufficient progress to restore competition.”

In an order that reverberated across the Atlantic, the commission last year slapped Apple with a multibillioneuro bill, saying Ireland granted unfair deals that reduced the company’s effective corporate tax rate. While Apple and Ireland are appealing the decision, the country is still facing European pressure over its resistance to a new set of rules for taxing tech companies.

“The work on the establishment of the fund to deal with the unprecedented recovery amount will continue, notwithstanding the fact that the commission has taken this wholly unnecessary step,” the Irish finance ministry said in an emailed statement. — Bloomberg