Apple Still Has $5.8 Billion to Pay After EU's 2016 Tax Demand

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. must still pay 5 billion euros ($5.8 billion) to comply with a European Union back-tax order, nearly two years after the company’s fiscal deals with Ireland were ruled illegal.

Apple has now paid 9 billion euros -- or almost two-thirds -- of the 13 billion euros in back taxes and 1 billion euros of interest it was ordered to transfer to Ireland, the company said in a regulatory filing late Wednesday. It said 4.5 billion euros was paid since June 30.

The tech giant, which reported $53.3 billion in third-quarter sales and beat expectations with its fourth-quarter forecast, declined to comment further. The tax money will be held in an escrow account while Apple and Ireland fight the EU order at court, which will take years.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has already shown herself impatient with the slow pace of repayment of what she views as illegal state aid from Ireland to Apple. Last year she took Ireland to court for not getting the money back quickly enough. The EU’s press office said Thursday that officials were ready to withdraw that lawsuit when all the funds are transferred.

"We continue to be in close contact with the Irish authorities and hope that recovery of the illegal aid is completed in full as soon as possible," the European Commission said in an emailed statement "That would also allow us to close the ongoing procedure before the EU Court of Justice against Ireland for not having implemented the commission decision."

The Apple case is the biggest of a wave of investigations that’s ordered dozens of companies to repay billions of euros over tax rulings that the EU says were unfair. The EU is yet to decide on cases involving McDonald’s Corp. and U.K. tax treatment of multinational companies.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.