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EU Probe Into Apple’s Tax Dealings in Ireland Reach a Decision Soon

Apple's massive investment in Ireland, where its European HQ is based, may deflect criticism that its love for the country is influenced too much by tax considerations. Photograph by Paul Faith — AFP/Getty Images

The European Union’s antitrust chief has indicated that it will likely reach a decision in September or October on its two-year probe into Apple’s tax dealings with Ireland, Ireland’s finance minister said on Wednesday.

The European Commission accused Ireland in 2014 of dodging international tax rules by letting Apple shelter profits worth tens of billions of dollars from tax collectors in return for maintaining jobs. Apple (AAPL) and Ireland reject the accusation.

“Commissioner Vestager indicated to me that there wouldn’t be a decision in July but there would probably be a decision early in the autumn. My expectation is September or early October,” Michael Noonan told a news conference after meeting antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday.

“I didn’t discuss the potential decision but we did discuss the presentation of the decision. I have no indication of what way the decision will go or what the implications of the decision will be,” the finance minister said.

The investigation could force Apple to pay substantial back taxes. It has said it will join Ireland in appealing any adverse ruling.

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The European Commission has already ordered Dutch authorities to recover up to 30 million euros from U.S. coffee chain Starbucks (SBUX) and Luxembourg to do the same with Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) for their tax deals.

Both companies and countries have appealed the decisions.