Ireland to collect back taxes from Apple (reluctantly)

The Irish government will comply with the EU ruling to collect 13B (about $14.5 billion) in back taxes from Apple, but isn’t happy about the prospect. The country worries about being held accountable for any depreciation on the money, which will go into an escrow account if the tech giant should win an appeal at some point and need a refund.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, in an interview with a German newspaper, says, “We are not the global tax collector for everybody else.”

The European Commission, Europe’s anti-trust and consumer investigation agency, claimed 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.

Tim Cook has branded the European Commission 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.