EU finance ministers back commission ruling that Apple owes billions of euro


EU finance ministers have lined up behind an EU Commission ruling that technology giant Apple owes billions of euro because it did not pay the proper tax in the European Union for more than a decade.

Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem and others urged Apple to pay a bill that analysts say could reach 19 billion euro (£16.1 billion) with interest.

The ministers are discussing ways to harmonise tax rules for international companies. Dijsselbloem said that these companies "have an obligation to pay taxes in a fair way."

Apple logo
(Myung Jung Kim/PA)

"International tax loopholes are a thing of the past," he added.

He said Apple will have to pay back taxes both in the United States and Europe, "so get ready to do that."

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Dijsselbloem's British counterpart, said the EU was keen "to make sure that international corporations pay the right tax at the right place."

"That's the fair way to do it, and we are going to make sure it happens," said Hammond.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem
(Bundas Engler/AP)

Both Apple and Ireland, Apple's European headquarters, are appealing against the decision, one of several faulting international companies for exploiting European exemptions to pay minimal taxes.

Both Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler are contesting rulings handed down last year that they are each about 30 million euro (£25.4 million) in arrears.