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EC refers Ireland to top EU court over Apple's tax bill

The European Commission is referring Ireland to the European Court of Justice over its failure to recover up to €13 billion in back taxes from Apple Inc., excluding interest.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Ireland has not made "sufficient progress to restore competition," since it has yet to recover even a portion of the money from Apple that was declared illegal under the EU's state aid rules in August 2016.

The decision comes after Ireland missed the Jan. 3 deadline to recover the taxes, or four months after the government was notified of the commission's decision. While the Irish government has made progress on computing the exact amount of back taxes owed by Apple, it plans to conclude the process at the earliest by March 2018.

In response, the Irish Department of Finance expressed disappointment at the EC's decision, saying it has never accepted the commission's arguments on the back taxes.

However, it said the government is "fully committed" to recovering the back taxes and to continue with the establishment of the escrow fund where the money shall be placed.