Sheer amount of data involved delaying EU ruling on Apple's Irish tax deals, Commissioner says

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There's no way of telling when the European Commission will conclude its investigation into Apple's Irish tax deals, simply because the huge amount of data involved, the Commission's competition head said on Monday.

"The first priority is the quality of the case work... And therefore it is very difficult to make predictions as to when the case will be ready for a decision," Margrethe Vestager told a European Parliament hearing, according to Reuters.

The investigation has already been in progress for two years. Vestager noted that having recently asked the Irish government for more information, new questions were raised that demanded answers from both Ireland and Apple.

Apple is accused of exploiting Irish loopholes to avoid paying normal taxes on international revenue, in exchange for keeping jobs in the country. In addition to funneling money through Ireland, Apple's European operations are based there, along with its only self-owned factory. A datacenter is planned, but awaiting approval.

Under European Union regulations, such tax arrangements could constitute illegal state aid if they're not extended to every business. The EU has been cracking down on other governments and multinational corporations for this reason, and could potentially ask Ireland to collect billions in back taxes from Apple.

The latter insists that it has "paid every cent of tax" it owes, but has also promised that it is "committed to Ireland" regardless of how the Commission rules.