EU broadens its investigation into potential 'sweetheart' deal for Apple in Ireland

A ruling from the European Commission is now not expected until after the General Election

apple, ireland, iphone, corporation tax, business, european commission

The European Union has broadened its probe into Apple's tax payments in Ireland - the investigation centres around claims that the US tech-giant was offered illegal preferential tax terms in a so-called 'sweetheart' deal.

The Department of Finance has confirmed that it is now supplying the commission with additional information which has been requested through a list of supplementary questions.

A verdict in the investigation had been expected during the second quarter of 2015

"We do not expect any decision until after the new year," a spokesperson from the department said.

This examination of Apple's tax payments is part of a broader crackdown on tax avoidance. In October of this year Luxembourg and the Netherlands recouped tens of millions of euros in outstanding payments from Fiat and Starbucks.

If the Commission also rules against Apple the outstanding tax bill that it would be liable to pay to Ireland could be in excess of €2bn.

Throughout the investigation Government officials have insisted that the country has complied with EU rules and that, in the event of a negative finding, the State is ready to launch an appeal.

Apple has said that it would support such an appeal - and that it has not been involved in any wrongdoing.

The Financial Times spoke to several lawyers who have seen the supplementary questions, they say that they indicate that the EU is now exploring new lines of inquiry. It has also been speculated that the Commission will hold off on publishing its findings until after the conclusion of Ireland's General Election.