Ireland taken to court over not claiming Apple tax

Ireland taken to court over not claiming Apple tax”

Ireland responded on Wednesday that while it had never accepted the Commission's analysis of the Apple case, it respected European Union law and was committed to ensuring swift recovery of the contested state aid.

The EC Commissioner added that the commission understands recovery in some cases might be more complex than for others, and the organization is always willing to assist, but states that are members of the European Union must make progress to restore equal competition.

The deadline for Ireland to implement the Commission's decision on Apple's tax treatment was January 3, 2017, said the statement. "But [EU members] need to make sufficient progress to restore competition".

Europe's top anti-trust authority - ruled in 2016 that the Irish government had granted illegal aid to Apple by helping the iPhone maker keep its tax bill artificially low for more than 20 years.

On Wednesday, the European Commission announced that it has taken Ireland to court.

Ireland said that since the investigation, it has been engaged in dialogue with the Commission and Apple for more than a year.

"That is why it is extremely disappointing that the Commission has taken action at this time against Ireland."

"Ireland has to recover up to €13 billion in illegal state aid from Apple", Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said.

It said that until the illegal aid is recovered, Apple is benefitting from an "illegal advantage, which is why recovery must happen as quickly as possible".

It added the EC's decision was "extremely regrettable, especially in relation to a case with such a large scale recovery amount".

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

The country claimed it had made progress on the issue and was close to the establishment of an escrow fund, which would continue despite Wednesday's referral.

The issue has also divided opinion in Ireland, with opposition MPs suggesting the government should use the windfall to fix the country's economy.

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