LISBON – EU regulators have asked iPhone maker Apple for details of its recent tax structure following last year’s order to pay back taxes of up to 13 billion euros ($15 billion) to Ireland, Europe’s anti-trust chief said on Tuesday.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who issued the record back-tax bill against Apple in August 2016, said she wanted to make sure the company now complies with the bloc’s rules which ban unfair state aid.
“I have been asking for an update on the arrangement made by Apple, the recent way they have been organized, in order to get the feeling whether or not this is in accordance with our European rules but that remains to be seen,” Vestager told a news briefing on the sidelines of an international tech summit in Lisbon.
“We are looking into this of course without any kind of prejudice, just to get the information,” she said.
Vestager said her request preceded reports based on the “Paradise Papers” which showed that Apple shifted key parts of its business to Jersey as an offshore tax haven in a move to maintain a low tax rate. Apple has said no operations were moved from Ireland.
“We have no contact after the Paradise Papers. We are in the process. There is no particular need,” she said.
She also said it was too early to say whether the latest leaks on tax arrangements by companies would lead to any investigation.
“That remains to be seen if we will open more cases after the Paradise Papers.”
The European Commission last month sued Ireland for its tardiness in collecting the money from Apple.
“We have no indication when it comes to the time perspective of Apple’s recovery. We do have from the Irish government the progress made,” she said.
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise