Tuesday, 05 December 2017 08:26

Apple, Ireland reach deal on escrow fund for EU fine Featured

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Apple and Ireland have reached a deal on terms for an escrow fund for a €13 billion (US$17.6 billion) fine imposed by the European Union in August last year, with the money to stay in the fund while both the tech firm and Dublin appeal the EU's verdict.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Irish Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe was expecting the money to begin flowing from Apple to the fund in the first quarter of 2018 after the tender was put out to decide who would operate the account and manage the fund.

Apple was ordered to repay the massive amount after the EU said it had found that a number of deals the company cut to do business in Ireland were illegal.

At the time, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Apple's "selective treatment" in Ireland resulted in an effective tax rate of 1% on its European profits in 2003. This rate fell to 0.005% by 2014.

"The tax treatment in Ireland enabled Apple to avoid taxation on almost all profits generated by sales of Apple products in the entire EU single market," she said.

eu apple

"Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules. The Commission's investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years."

In October, the EU warned Ireland that it would be issued a non-compliance action for not taking action to collect the money, which was initially due by 3 January.

The WSJ quoted Apple as saying in a statement: "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.”

The EU launched its investigation into Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland in 2014.

Graphic: courtesy European Union

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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