Apple.jpg
Photograph: Photo by William Murphy, used under CC BY-SA

The European Commission is poised to announce that tax benefits offered to US technology giant Apple constitute illegal state aid, according to media reports late Monday.

The decision against Apple, which could cost the company billions of dollars in back taxes, is to be issued Tuesday, according to Irish broadcaster RTI, financial news agency Bloomberg and the Financial Times, all citing sources familiar with the situation.

The European Commission has been investigating Apple's tax benefits in Ireland as part of a broader, years long probe of tax breaks granted by EU member countries to multinational corporations.

Under EU rules, national tax authorities are forbidden from offering tax benefits only to selected companies that are unavailable to other firms. A finding of unfair advantages for Apple would require Ireland to collect on past illegal tax breaks.

Irish authorities have said they would go to court to fight such a decision from the European Commission.

Apple, which runs much of its global business through Irish-based subsidiaries, could be liable for up to 19 billion dollars in back taxes, according to estimates by tax analysts.

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