The European Commission’s antitrust tsar, Ms. Margrethe Vestager, is rumored to be next in line for the EC Presidency when Mr. Juncker will end his 5-year term. With her unrelenting fight against US tech giants, she has certainly gained popularity with the EU public. With Apple’s agreement to pay back $15bn in back taxes, she will gain the backing of many national governments as well.
Yes, over a year ago, Ms Vestager claimed that Apple had failed to pay Ireland, an EU member state, some $15.4 billion in taxes, as it had set up a sweetheart tax deal that allowed it to pay an effective corporate tax rate of one percent on its European profits in 2003, down to as low as 0.005 percent in certain years. Knowing that their Dublin headquarters serves as their European hub for serving the market of 28 EU member countries, effectively the largest capitalist market in the world with 550 million citizens, that was quite a low tax rate.
And so Ireland started negotiating with Apple to come to an agreement, which came to a fruitful, pardon the pun, conclusion yesterday when Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe stated: “We have now reached an agreement with Apple in relation to the principles and operation of the escrow fund.”
"We expect the money will begin to be transmitted into the account from Apple across the first quarter of next year."
Apple, however, said the legal fight is not over yet. Though it admitted to paying back the taxes it owes to Ireland, they are still appealing the ruling at the EU courts
In a Monday statement, they commented: “We have a dedicated team working diligently and expeditiously with Ireland on the process the European Commission has mandated. We remain confident the General Court of the EU will overturn the Commission’s decision once it has reviewed all the evidence.”