Apple could be staring at an enormous tax bill after today, as the European Commission is expected to rule on whether to penalise it over its tax arrangements with the Irish government.
According to a report in The Guardian, Apple could be liable for back taxes running into billions of euros. Irish officials expect the commission to rule that Apple’s tax arrangements are unlawful under state aid rules.
If the ruling, which will be handed down by European commissioner Margrethe Vestager, goes against Apple, the company could have to pay an amount that some sources say could run as high as €19 billion (R305 billion).
It’s highly probably that Apple will appeal any decision that goes against it.
“I don’t know how they will rule,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Washington Post earlier this month. “I hope that we get a fair hearing. If we don’t, then we would obviously appeal it.”
“It’s important for everyone to understand that the allegation made in the E.U. is that Ireland gave us a special deal. Ireland denies that,” Cook said. “The structure we have was applicable to everybody — it wasn’t something that was done unique to Apple. It was their law.”
The timing of the announcement isn’t exactly fortuitous for Apple as it comes just one week before the company is expected to announce its new iPhone 7 smartphone and its new Apple Watch in San Francisco. Both Apple phone and smart devices have declined in sales recently and the company is hoping to stoke interest in its upcoming products.