European Commission is taking Ireland to court as Apple’s $15bn tax dispute continues

In August last year, the European Commission ruled that Ireland must recover 13 billion euros ($15bn) in unpaid taxes from Apple, ruling the ‘special deal’ illegal. Both Apple and Ireland are appealing the rulings although Ireland did say it would collect the money begrudgingly in the meantime.

Apparently. that didn’t happen. Today, the Commission said that Ireland has still not received the money from Apple and is now taking legal action to pursue.

The European Commission claims that Apple owes 13 billion euros in unpaid taxation for operations between 2003 and 2014. It is alleged that the low tax rate proffered to Apple was an exclusive rate not given to other companies and therefore illegal.

Ireland refutes these claims, saying that the rates had been available to all, and it does not believe there were any violations of Irish or European law. Today, the EU also ordered Amazon to pay up 250 million euros in supposed illegal taxes.

Apple’s general counsel Bruce Sewell said that Apple was targeted to generate headlines. It said that the chosen legalese was selected to maximize the fine. If a more appropriate categorization had been chosen, Apple would still have disputed the claims but the headline figure would have been far less, much lower than the current 13 billion euro ruling.

It is believed that the United States government are now intervening in proceedings. The legal case is not expected to start until next year. Before that happens, the Commission wants Apple to refund Ireland the money to ‘make it fair’ on other companies. If the appeal was successful, the money would be returned to Apple.

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Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.