Ireland expects Apple EU tax appeal to be heard in autumn

The Irish government will begin collecting €13bn (£11bn) in unpaid taxes from Apple, as it confirmed that its joint appeal with the US technology company against an EU ruling demanding the money be paid would be heard in autumn.

Paschal Donohoe, the Irish finance minister, said on Tuesday the money would be recovered in a series of payments starting in the second quarter of 2018, with all funds expected to be paid by the end of September.

Last month, the Irish government appointed managers for an escrow account to hold the money until after the outcome of the appeal against the European commission’s ruling in August 2016 that Apple had received unfair tax incentives.

Donohoe said the fund would make investment decisions that were low risk, adding that the Irish taxpayer would be protected. “Any loss from the fund will reside with the fund, not with the taxpayer,” he said.

Apple and Dublin are challenging the ruling, saying the iPhone maker’s tax treatment was in line with Irish and EU law.

“We expect the appeal is likely to begin in the autumn,” Donohoe said. “How long the hearings last will depend on the judges overseeing it and they could be open to either party after that to take any further actions.”

The commission told Ireland to collect €13bn in back taxes, a sum the finance department estimated could reach €15bn, including EU interest. Interest due by Apple would be calculated after the initial €13bn was collected, Donohoe said.

In October, the commission said it was taking Dublin to the European court of justice over delays in recovering the money.

Ireland, which built its economic success on being a low-tax entryway for multinationals seeking access to the EU, is concerned that collecting the back taxes could reduce its attractiveness.