Ireland Faces Rebuke From EU for Failing to Collect Apple’s Tax Billions

Ireland faces a rebuke from European Union authorities for failing to collect a year-old tax bill of as much as 15 billion euros ($17.6 billion) from Apple Inc. during a fight with regulators.

The European Commission may issue a so-called non-compliance action as soon as this week, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named because the information is private. The EU has pushed Ireland to collect the money, which was initially due by Jan. 3.

In an order that reverberated across the Atlantic, the commission last year slapped Apple with a multibillion-euro bill, saying Ireland granted unfair deals that reduced the company’s effective corporate tax rate. Apple and Ireland are appealing the decision.

Once it’s collected, Irish authorities will place the money in an escrow account pending an appeal. If the appeal, which could take as long as five years, is successful, the money will be returned to Apple. The government is seeking managers to invest the money while the appeal is going on.

The Irish finance ministry and an EU spokesman declined to comment.

If the commission considers an EU state has failed to implement a recovery order in a state aid case, regulators can sue at the bloc’s courts in Luxembourg. Judges would then rule on the alleged non-compliance and can issue a fine.

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