Apple will start repaying Ireland the $15.4 billion it owes in back taxes starting early 2018

It seems Apple has finally reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) to start repaying the $15.4 billion it owes Ireland in back taxes early next year.

From a report in the Wall Street Journal, Ireland has very much resisted collecting the funds from Apple and the EU was forced to step in and speed up the process.

As a refresher, Ireland was using exceptionally low tax rates to spur economic development and lure large corporation to Ireland. With rates sometimes as low as 0.005% on all European earnings, companies would set up a variety of shell companies or subsidiaries solely for the purpose of collecting that revenue and largely evading taxes.

While Apple and Ireland both maintain they’ve done nothing wrong, the European Commission said the deal amounts to illegal state aid and that Apple needed to pay back the unpaid taxes.

The order for repayment was handed down back in August of 2016 and Apple has yet to start transferring the money. Now the EU stepped in and asked European Court of Justice to step in and compel Apple to start paying.

It seems to have worked as Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has announced that in the first quarter of 2018, Apple would begin sending payments to an escrow account.

This won’t be the end of the saga however, as Apple and Ireland both plan to appeal the ruling and remaining confident it will be overturned. Apple has very publicly criticized the ruling, with Tim Cook even calling it “total political crap”on the record.