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Ireland says it expects Apple to start paying $15 billion in back taxes in first quarter 2018

  • The record sum was the result of Apple receiving unfair tax incentives from Ireland.
  • Apple is expected to start paying at the beginning of next year.
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a media event at Apple's new headquarters where Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone and other products in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2017.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during a media event at Apple's new headquarters where Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone and other products in Cupertino, California on September 12, 2017.

Ireland expects iPhone maker Apple to start paying up to 13 billion euros, or $15.4 billion, in back taxes into an escrow account in the first quarter of 2018, the finance minister said on Monday.

The European Commission said the record sum was the result of Apple receiving unfair tax incentives from Ireland.

More than a year after the EU order, Dublin's slow pace in recovering the money has landed it in court. Ireland is now seeking an investment manager and a custodian to operate the account and expects to appoint both next month.

"We have now reached agreement with Apple in relation to the principles and operation of the escrow fund," Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told reporters before a meeting with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

"We expect the money will begin to be transmitted into the account from Apple across the first quarter of next year."

Both Dublin and Apple have challenged the EU order.

Apple told CNBC it is working diligently with Ireland, and said Apple is confident the European Commission's decision will be overturned.

"The Commission's case against Ireland has never been about how much Apple pays in taxes, it's about which government gets the money," Apple's statement said. "The United States government and the Irish government both agree we've paid our taxes according to the law."

— CNBC's Megan Hawkins contributed to this report.