Irish prime minister: Ireland cannot tap Apple tax fund to fight coronavirus

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday that Ireland cannot use the more than 14 billion euros (US$15.1 billion) in disputed taxes it has collected from Apple pending a European court appeal for economic stimulus in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus.

In September 2018, Ireland collected €14.3 billion in disputed back taxes and interest from Apple. It was placed in an escrow account pending Dublin’s appeal against the ruling which is ongoing.

Leo Varadkar no on Apple taxes escrow. Image: Apple Distribution International
Apple Distribution International in Cork, Ireland

The leader of the opposition Sinn Fein party, Mary Lou McDonald, suggested on Sunday that the state could reach “right this minute” into the escrow account where the funds are being held to pay for further income supports for workers.

“Mary Lou McDonald should know better, the Apple money is in an escrow account and that is where it is being held until the European Commission decides where that money is going to go,” Varadkar told reporters.

“The European courts will decide whether that money either belongs to Apple or comes to the Irish revenue commissioners and then has to be distributed out among the counties of Europe. It’s not ours to take and it’s now before the courts.

“She should know better before coming out with that kind of rubbish.”

MacDailyNews Take: Varadkar makes perfect sense since those so-called “Apple taxes” are not Ireland’s money. That’s Apple’s money.


  1. MDN, you seem to have missed the point of the article when you say “That’s Apple’s money.” The point of the article is that a court will have to decide whose money that is.
    I guess you’re just arguing for your opinion by stating is as fact?

  2. As far as Apple or its shareholders are concerned, those taxes are paid. The arguing is between which tax authority gets it, Ireland’s or the US Treasury. Whatever taxes go to Ireland’s tax authority is a credit on Apple’s US taxes to the Treasury.

    Apple arguing this case no longer benefits Apple, but potentially, the US Treasury and indirectly, US taxpayers.

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