EU taking Ireland to court for not collecting Apple back taxes

EU taking Ireland to court for not collecting Apple back taxes
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The European Union said on Wednesday that it would be taking Ireland to court for failing to collect 13 billion euros, or $15.3 billion, in back taxes from Apple.

More than a year after it concluded that Ireland had been offering illegal tax breaks to Apple, the European Commission, the EU’s enforcement arm, said that the nation still has not collected the money.

“We of course understand that recovery in certain cases may be more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, said in a statement.

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“But Member States need to make sufficient progress to restore competition. That is why we have today decided to refer Ireland to the EU Court for failing to implement our decision."

Apple declined a request for comment, but CEO Tim Cook has called last year’s commission ruling “total political crap.”

In a statement, the Irish Department of Finance called the move "disappointing" and said it had never agreed with Vestager's ruling.

"It is extremely regrettable that the Commission has taken this action, especially in relation to a case with such a large scale recovery amount," the statement reads. "Ireland has made significant progress on this complex issue and is close to the establishment of an escrow fund, in compliance with all relevant Irish constitutional and European Union law."

"The work on the establishment of the escrow fund to deal with the unprecedented recovery amount will continue, notwithstanding the fact that Commission has taken this wholly unnecessary step."

The EU prohibits its member states from offering tax benefits to certain companies that are not available to others.

When the European Commission ordered Ireland in August 2016 to collect the back taxes, it gave them a deadline of Jan. 3. The commission said on Wednesday that Ireland still has not collected any of the money.

Ireland had appealed the decision but was still under deadline to comply with the order.