Ireland faces EU rebuke for not yet collecting Apple back taxes

Ireland faces a rebuke from European Union authorities for failing to collect a year-old tax bill of as much as 15 billion euros (about US$17.6 billion) from Apple, reports Bloomberg.

The European Commission, Europe’s anti-trust and consumer investigation agency,  may issue a “non-compliance action as soon as this week,” the article adds, quoting an unnamed “person with knowledge of the matter.” The EU has pushed Ireland to collect the money, which was initially due by Jan. 3.

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The EU claims that Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have attracted investment and jobs by helping big companies avoid tax in other countries, including EU members. The commission suspects Ireland was too lenient in rulings it gave to Apple and which helped the company shield tens of billions of dollars in profit from taxation. At 12.5%, Ireland’s corporate tax rate beats the U.S. rate of 35%. However, participating companies don’t pay that 12.5% under the double Irish structure.

CEO Tim Cook has branded the EU ruling “total political crap.” Apple’s CEO also suggested the "retroactive" tax bill was an attempt by the EU to grab taxes owed to the U.S. treasury and harmonize tax rates across the 28-nation bloc.