The European Commission ruled today that Apple owes Ireland €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in back taxes covering a 10-year period. It says the tax deals Ireland granted Apple count as illegal “state aid,” and calculates that it brought the company’s effective corporate tax rate down to just 0.005% in 2014. Ireland insists the deal was legal, and plans to appeal. The government has already spent €670,000 battling Europe on the case.
But what would Ireland be able to buy if it keeps that €13 billion? Quite a lot.
- It’s 7% of Ireland’s economy
- 6% of its government debt
- 32,321 new homes in Dublin
- Ireland’s total health care budget for 2016
- One-and-a-half times the nation’s education budget
- 13 times its defense budget
- 684,000 Hyundai Tucsons (the best-selling car in Ireland)
- Roughly 500-700km (310-430 miles) of high-speed rail, based on current projects in France (pdf, p.7)
- Half the market value of CRH, Ireland’s biggest company
- 2.6 billion pints of Guinness—roughly one-and-a-half times the world’s annual supply, or five pints for every person in the EU
- 20 million iPhone 6’s from the Irish Apple store (more than four for every person in Ireland)
- Enough to send every Irish teenager to Cambridge University for three years and have some change
This doesn’t even cover the extra €6 billion in interest Apple may also have to pay, according to Grant Thornton. Ireland has said that it’s legally bound to start collecting the money but will put it in escrow until the appeals process is concluded.