The full scale of the Apple tax bill could hit €19bn when interest on the unpaid sum is taken into account.
A senior Revenue Commissioners official confirmed the situation yesterday as a crisis cabinet meeting failed to end the rift at the heart of Government over the controversy.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio as the fallout from Tuesday’s European Commission decision continues, the head of the Revenue Commissioner’s international division Eamonn O’ Dea said the current €13bn figure is likely to rise considerably.
Noting the fact the owed money stretches back a decade, he said when interest rates are taken into account the full sum owed to the State is likely to be up to €19bn.
“Yes indeed, in a State aid case there will be interest on top of that [€13bn]. But who knows what is going to transpire over the coming years,” he said.
The revelation that the already controversial €13bn figure is likely to increase by a further €6bn came as Taoiseach Enda Kenny admitted Ireland is facing an “unprecedented situation”.
As he entered Government Buildings before a four-hour cabinet meeting, the Fine Gael leader said the coalition needs time to “absorb” the importance of the issue fully.
Education Minister Richard Bruton was equally vocal, warning Ireland should not be forced to become the “international policeman” of tax issues and that Government must “defend and protect our multi-national sector”.
The view was repeated by Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe, who said that while he and other Fine Gael members “accept the moral case in relation to dealing with large companies paying their fair share, Ireland cannot do all of this on its own”.
However, amid a growing expectation the Dáil will be recalled next week to vote on whether to appeal the €13bn ruling, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy said the Government cannot continue to claim the issue has happened by accident.
“The reality is extremely clear; one of the biggest companies in the world didn’t pay corporation tax on close to €19bn and we are owed that tax. This is their [Government’s] bank guarantee,” he said.
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