EU ruling on Apple's Irish taxes expected in the coming weeks

The US firm could owe Ireland up to €19bn - but the Irish Government is ready to fight any finding against Apple

EU ruling on Apple's Irish taxes expected in the coming weeks

Julie Jacobson / AP

There are growing signals that the European Commission is close to announcing its decision on its long-standing investigation as to whether the Irish government supported Apple’s operations here through low corporate tax arrangements that were not either transparent or available to other companies.

Finance Minister, Michael Noonan met EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager yesterday as part of his sustained defence that the Irish government did not offer state aid to Apple and to reaffirm we will appeal any adverse judgement to the European Court of Justice.

US Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew is due to meet the Commissioner in Brussels today. He is expected to underline his administration’s opposition to Apple being obliged to pay any back taxes to Ireland arising from the Commission’s judgement.

Apple has stated that it will fight any negative finding.

The issue of the EU’s treatment of the tax affairs of US multinationals based in various member states is a growing source of tension between the two trading blocs either side of the Atlantic.

Estimates of the size of the back tax bill Apple might have to pay range from hundreds of millions of dollars to €19bn, though many commentators think a compromise might be hatched where Apple makes a once off, relatively low payment of up to €150m based solely on the Commission’s estimate of Apple’s underpayment of corporation tax relating to Irish-based activity, and not other revenues channelled through Ireland.